Happy to see that common sense was restored as Twitter unlocked the account of our colleagues @tibettruth. There was huge support from many friends across social media and major thanks to all for the solidarity.
While it was awesome to see the account back online and getting information on Tibet out there, the day was darkened by the actions of a handful of trolls. Resulting we were sorry to hear of a new volunteer to the @tibettruth crew stepping down. He had unknowingly responded to what he thought, in all innocenece to be a genuine interest from an account to donate towards our work for Tibet. No crime there then. However the account in question turned out to be linked to the vitriolic dispute regarding a Tibetan Buddhist deity, which has resulted in much online disharmony and abuse among the wider Tibetan Diaspora and some supporters of Tibet.
Our former volunteer unaware of the background or detail replied to what he considered a bona fide approach, this error was then seized upon as an excuse to issue a stream of abuse against him and the activism we conduct.
We have previously made it known that we are entirely disinterested in arguments for or against this corrosive and divisive issue, unfortunately we hear that any attempt at reasoned and civilized communication failed. There was an agenda at work. Our Twitter team decided to block one of the accounts involved and reconnected with posting news and information on Tibet. To a degree though the damage had been done and we lost the activism of a decent and kind person who wanted to show his support for Tibet.
In response to the targeting of our Twitter colleagues we issued a statement, which is included HERE for anyone wishing to know our position.
Let’s put it out there from the get go, non weird science can be amazing too, right? Perhaps it’s greatest strength is the core principal of asking questions, and not just any old inquiry but carefully selected and following empirical protocols. The results are then subject to peer review and eventually, if not countered as lacking evidence or repeatable proof, declared as scientific fact. Awesome hey? Sure, but before we hit the sidewalk in celebration we need to ask does science get it wrong? Totally! Another question which needs to be considered is, does science get manipulated and exploited for reasons of commerce and politics? You betcha! From the dangers of smoking, GMO and pharmaceuticals to water pollution and events like Fukushima scientists have been co-opted (some willingly) to push ‘facts’ that suit the interests of corporations and also government. The person in the lab-coat is thought to be authoritative, objective and lacking in bias, right? What more convincingly neutral messenger if you wanted to influence public opinion, after all they’re dedicated to fact and impartiality. You can trust them, can’t you?
Which brings us to China and its regime, long known for propaganda, censorship and ruthless totalitarian control, exerted over every facet of Chinese society, including academic institutions and media. Both areas are entirely politicized and subject to the ideological dictates of China’s communist party (CCP) under the control of President Xi Jinping. Nobody better represents this dismal state of affairs than Professor Huang Jiefu, a member of the CCP and Chinese government with disturbing links to the forcible removal of human organs from political prisoners inside China. Yet the same individual has the role of professional liar, touring the international circuit of surgeons’ conferences to deny and deceive, an enthusiastic propagandist! We’re not claiming that every academic declaration from China is to be dismissed, but those related to politically sensitive issues should be scrutinized with a particularly critical lens, especially when linked with Tibet!
On July 18 2018 we noted the publication of the following paper: ‘Traditional Tibetan Medicine Induced High Methylmercury Exposure Level and Environmental Mercury Burden in Tibet, China (sic)’ It was copyrighted to the American Chemical SocietySOURCE and authored in the majority by Chinese writers from Chinese government controlled academic institutions. It claimed the inclusion of mercury in Tibetan medicines, which the authors reportedly measured “in the municipal sewage in Tibet”. Not exactly a positive news story on Tibetan culture is it? What impression does it give? Does it cast Tibetans into a negative light? But they are questions of a political shade. Let’s get back to the science for now.
Now we imagine that the loyal academics of; China’s Ministry of Education Laboratory of Earth Surface Process (Beijing University), Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, (Beijing) and Chinese Academy of Sciences East China Normal University, (Shanghai) when formulating their central thesis statement followed standard scientific procedure and allowed for critical examination of any and all factors that could impact findings and tests?
We raise this important question because what’s been published gives an impression of a paper which had the objective of fitting the ‘facts’ to a predetermined conclusion. That of course would be bias. Surely those eager academics are dedicated to impartial research only, right? Well if so we would expect them to examine a range of factors that could result in significant levels of mercury in Tibetan sewage, and moreover to include results and measurements on other possible contributory sources in their paper. Unless of course what we have here is a politicized study which has propaganda aims? Dang there goes the political reflex again! Now where did we get too? Ah right! The science part.
An obvious start point would be for them to ask, is their geographic sample sufficiently diverse and of a range to be regarded as an accurate representation?
Did they consider other sources of mercury which could explain the supposed presence in those sewage samples taken?
What measures did they employ to identify what percentage of mercury in the sewage could be shown to be derived from traditional Tibetan medicine, as opposed to pollution incidents and or industrial wastage/use?
Were those who supplied the Tibetan medicine samples unknowing of the claimed mercury content, or complicit in adulterating such treatments?
In declaring Tibetan medicine to contain mercury did their paper examine the sources of constituent herbs, to establish if such plants were on contaminated soils or exposed to wind borne pollution?
Did the authors sufficiently examine the role of gold mining and its use of mercury which escapes into the surrounding environment, including the hydrosphere?
Were measurements taken in those limited sites where sewage was examined, to test water quality and presence of metals such as mercury?
Did they properly assess the possibility of mercury contamination from gold mining and the fact that mercury can contaminate the atmosphere and water at a very long distance?
It’s our view that such questions would be fundamental to any proper scientific examination of a thesis which was to conclude the production of Tibetan medicine as the causal factor of mercury within sewage. We invite the paper’s authors and its copyright holders American Chemical Society to furnish evidence that these possible other factors were included in the research, otherwise people may well speculate if the paper can considered a serious academic work.
While we await a response on that, back to our favorite subject, politics! Yay! So what to say about all this, well had Sherlock Holmes been investigating no doubt he would have remarked:
“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.’ (Conan Doyle, A Scandal in Bohemia)
Are we witnessing such a manipulation with this paper? Does the Chinese regime control academic bodies and use them as a conduit for its disinformation? What’s known for sure is that the once pristine land of Tibet has, since China invaded in 1950, been ruthlessly exploited for its minerals, water, gas and forests. The environmental impact has been devastating, rivers and lakes polluted, the atmosphere and soils contaminated by mining for gold, other metal ores and asbestos. Taking all this into account it’s reasonable to consider that mercury contamination in occupied Tibet is significant and probably widespread, with frequency variation.
To blame this upon Tibetan medicine is a cynical duplicity and calculating falsehood, sure metals such as gold or silver may traditionally be included. Who knows mercury may have been, or some unscrupulous or ignorant supplier may add it. It’s not exactly an empirically derived conclusion. When compared to the magnitude and nature of China’s rampant mining of Tibetan lands, with its resultant pollution and industrial scale use of mercury, Tibetan medicine cannot justifiably be cited as the source of such contamination. It is founded upon principles that are in harmony with the land and respect the environment.
Back-in-the-day reports emerged of deforestation in eastern Tibet, a handful of publications associated such destruction with the lifestyle of Tibetans living in those areas. Such journalists, and environmentalists chose to ignore Chinese state supported lumber corporations who were transforming the once verdant forest of Tibet into a lunar landscape. They turned a blind-eye to the never ending convoys of trucks shipping timber back to China. They chose to cast a judgmental eye on Tibetans, now why would they do that? Perhaps, as in the case of this latest questionable ‘research paper’, the answer may be found in China’s Ministry of Disinformation!
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!
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.
Over a 150 Tibetan activists from India, Nepal, United States of America and Europe are attending the 5th International Rangzen Conference. A platform to explore, advance and examine the cause of Tibetan independence. It is being held May 23 to 25 in Dharamsala, Northern India.
Image: Carlo Buldrini
We wish this conference every success in progressing the legitimate cause of Tibet’s national independence.
Where would we be without the lithium-powered technology which has become such a feature of daily life for millions around the planet. If you are a Tibetan witnessing the poisoning of your land, water and air such a question must seem a touch self-interested and callous. For in the scramble to profit from the lithium market Chinese mineral and mining companies are transforming Tibetan areas such as that around Golmud in Amdo region into toxic wastelands. Tibet and its people are paying a very heavy price for technology which have become such a social and economic necessity in the laughingly named developed world.
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.
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!
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).
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.
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.
In the English county of Somerset, a massive construction site is giving birth to a new nuclear plant, called Hinkley C. There’s lot of reasons to be concerned, not least environmental issues and operational safety. While the media may have moved on from the radioactive nightmare of Fukushima, the wider public remain justifiably anxious at the prospect of another meltdown. Not to worry claims the UK Government, who are entirely satisfied that the project will operate to the ‘highest standards’, after all folks there can relax knowing its being built and heavily funded by China’s General Nuclear Power Group. Right?
Apart from the specter of a nuclear incident there have been other objections, notably that allowing China such control and ownership over a UK power plant may compromise areas of national security. Such fears have been dismissed by the authorities. However with the head of the CIA today citing China as a major threat to US and European interests, and declaring that Chinese espionage is a serious issue, should the British government be complacent on such a vulnerability?
They should consider recent discoveries made at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the $200 million building was gifted by China and included a computer system which it turned out had servers programed to transfer sensitive and classified information directly to a server based in Shanghai! Report here
So get this…Marriot hotels is reportedly firing one of its employees for…..liking a tweet posted in support of Tibet by a (cough) group promoting Tibetan independence. REPORT HERE
Let’s all let that sink in shall we? In that story we can see with brilliant clarity the current relationship between corporations and China, ever desperate to appease and placate the Chinese regime in the hope of securing more blood-stained profits. What’s that about the right to freedom-of-speech you say? Sure, once upon a time way back when the internet had no commercials and was viewed on a glowing green monitor! Today censorship and state intrusion is ever encroaching, while companies such as Marriot demonstrate a callous indifference on issues of human rights or employees freedom of expression. Welcome to 2018!