Tibet’s Buddhism Placed In Chains By China’s Thought-Police

Tibet's Buddhism Placed In Chains By China's Thought-Police
Sera monastery, Lhasa, Tibet, now an indoctrination center and tourist attraction

Image: archivenet

For anyone selfish or unthinking enough to take a vacation to Lhasa its likely they will join a tour to Sera Monastery just north of the Tibetan capital. There they can see monks enjoying Buddhist debate, marvel at the traditional architecture and absorb the peaceful environs at which Buddhism is flourishing.

Meanwhile behind that staged show of supposed cultural freedom a darker reality exists for Tibetans, although you would not come into contact with that during your tightly controlled and monitored time at Sera.

Tibet's Buddhism Placed In Chains By China's Thought-Police
Dictator Xi jinping prominently displayed within Sera Monastery

Image: Eric Baculinao

We wonder how such tourists would feel about their Tibet trip had they been in attendance at a March 13 meeting in Sera during which a panel of Tibetan collaborators (Lhakpa Tsering ‘Lhasa, Monastery Management Committee Director’,  Tsetan Dorje, ‘Manager Sera monastery’ and Jampa Kelsang, ‘Media and Education Committee Director’ Sera Monastery) addressed some three hundred monks. Insisting that they should “… feel grateful to the Chinese government and show their loyalty to the nation by obeying the country’s laws,”.

Tibet's Buddhism Placed In Chains By China's Thought-Police
Tibet’s religious centers are now under occupation by Chinese paramilitary and the thought-police of China’s regime

Image: Tsering Woeser

Surrounded by Chinese paramilitary police, security officials and ‘management’ staff the monks were ordered to stand against what was described as ‘sepratism’. They were also warned of a series of prohibitions regarding online activity, including posting any information the regime considers sensitive.

Tibet's Buddhism Placed In Chains By China's Thought-Police
Tourists, undercover Chinese officials and paramilitary mingle within Lhasa’s Jokhang temple

Image: Tsering Woeser

The meeting concluded with an exultation ‘re-pay China’s generosity in Tibet and demonstrate loyalty to Beijing and love for the top leadership of China’s ruling Communist Party.’.

Sera monastery is in truth no longer a center for Buddhist learning, like monasteries across Tibet it is an indoctrination facility, placed under a suffocating control by the thought-police of the Chinese regime.

Tibet's Buddhism Placed In Chains By China's Thought-Police
Sera monastery is effectively a prison in which its Tibetan Buddhist inmates are under 24/7 surveillance and forced to perform for tourists.

Image: Tsering Woeser

It also has another function, one that exploits the wonderment, gullibility and ignorance of those who travel to Lhasa for an exotic vacation. It’s calculated and tightly controlled illusion of a thriving Tibetan Buddhist culture is an important propaganda tool to manipulate and deceive.


Tibet And Its Regions Being Erased From Tibetan News Outlet

Tibet Lands Misrepresented

Image: print-screen

Look here’s our position from the get-go. We totally respect the output of Phayul (an online Tibetan-run news source reporting on Tibet) and its dedicated and committed staff.

But when something’s plain bad we’re going to call it out, especially if it’s negatively impacting on a clear and accurate understanding of Tibet. So here’s the deal.

We read their February 13 report on the recent blizzard in Eastern Tibet with some concern. Apart from the sadness on reading of the loss of animals and hardship for Tibetans, our attention was troublingly distracted by certain descriptions. How so?

In the first place Phayul is edited by Tibetans and based in Dharamsala, India (the de-facto headquarters of the Tibetan Diaspora). That being the case it’s both baffling and disappointing to note its reports consistently feature the terminology of the Chinese regime when describing Tibetan place-names and territories.

Map of Tibet

Image: original Jana Hollingsworth/Amended @tibettruth

The report was headlined as: ‘Blizzard leaves thousands of animals dead in Yushu Autonomous Prefecture’. This term comes right out of the Chinese regime’s geographical place-name committee (yes folks they have one!) and is a propaganda construction. Designed to promote the baseless claim that Tibet’s part of China. Such disinformation is calculated to mislead and deceive people, a reality the team at Phayul would be acutely aware of. So why therefore is the Tibetan editor and his reporters regularly repeating such pro-Chinese regime distortions?

We can only presume they apply this policy through a combination of the following. An ill-judged belief that in so doing reports are invested with a veneer of detached objectivity, although how uncritically repeating the lies of China’s regime achieves that status is of course debateable. Perhaps its an indication of the influence of both Voice of America (Tibetan Service) and Radio Free Asia (Tibet Section) both of which frequently include Chinese descriptions of Tibetan locations. That decision is political, as those organizations are closely affiliated and partly funded by the State Department (which has long appeased the Chinese authorities by recognizing Tibet as part of China) Lastly it maybe an example of lazy journalism, simply copying and pasting China’s official narrative that’s so corrosively available across the internet.

Whatever the reasons, we’d kinda hoped that Phayul would realize the responsibility it holds in ensuring its readers and subscribers are provided reports which aren’t tainted with the bias of Chinese propaganda terminology. But it’s not so easy to be complacent on that when reading content such as: “…the ethnic Tibetan villagers in the area,”. This syntax is widely used and promoted by the Chinese ministry of deception. Yet it was given editorial approval!

For the record and purposes of accuracy, the location in the report lies within the area of Gyêgumdo (Jyekundo being the main town) a part of Kham region of occupied Tibet.

Map of Tibet

Image: snowlionstours/amended @tibettruth

That the language medium of Phayul is in English shows its reaching out to a wider readership than the exiled Tibetan community. As such its highly regarded output has a critical role in assuring that Tibet, its cause and territories is represented accurately and factually. Regurgitating the disinformation of China’s regime when reporting on Tibetan locations fails that objective.

We again call upon its editor and reporters not to describe Tibetan territory according to the cynical dictates of China’s regime. They need to reflect upon the following question. In what way are you serving a true and authentic reportage on Tibet by replacing traditional Tibetan place-names with those fabricated by the Chinese authorities?


Appeasing China, Miscellaneous, Tibet

Denial & Distortions Of A Luxembourg Scholar On Tibet

Mr Albert Ettinger
Mr Albert Ettinger


China’s regime has been operating a campaign of ideological warfare on the issue of Tibet since its troops invaded and occupied that nation in 1950. Historical facts have been distorted, fabrications engineered and disinformation promoted, all with the aim of asserting that Tibet has been since ancient times a part of China. See HERE

In an effort to support such bogus claims and add a veneer of supposed objectivity China’s Ministry Of Propaganda has a handful of western academic friends, who from time-to-time compose supposedly truthful accounts of Tibetan history that just by chance happen to conform to the propaganda rhetoric spewed out by the Chinese authorities.

The latest such example being from a Mr Albert Ettinger, which ‘Tibet Online’, an official mouthpiece of the Chinese Regime, describes as a Luxembourg scholar who has recently produced two books that regurgitate the official line of the Communist Party Of China towards Tibet.

His interview with that website is far from the balanced, objective and detached tradition of  academia, indeed the tone’s disturbingly similar to the racism and imperialistic arrogance that saturates the thinking of the Chinese regime on the subject of Tibet. On reading his remarks it is difficult to avoid concluding that we are witnessing the views of an apologist. Some may go further and question if Mr Ettinger is  guilty of actively concealing, evading and rebuking the misery, human rights atrocities, cultural genocide and violent denial of freedom which Tibet’s people have suffered under the tyranny of Chinese rule?

Clearly that individual has some interest in history so being European perhaps the name Harry Elmer Barnes resonates for him. Formerly a mainstream American historian Barnes towards the end of his career adopted a Holocaust-denial stance and became convinced that allegations made against Germany and Japan, including the Holocaust, were wartime propaganda used to justify the United States’ involvement in World War II.

Now no one would seriously consider that Mr Ettinger, no doubt a European dedicated to democratic values, freedom and human rights, as being any form of Holocaust Denier. Yet his willingness to repeat the propaganda claims of a totalitarian regime that has been shown to be guilty of the most appalling oppression and violent denial of human rights casts a perplexing and disturbing shadow.

We are very happy to extend to Albert Ettinger the courtesy of featuring a rejoinder from him on this matter, should he choose, meanwhile for the purposes of balance and to enable our subscribers to reach their own views of Mr Ettinger’s opinions his interview may be seen: HERE

Meanwhile what of the somewhat obscure publishing company that has released his book? According to the Chinese report his works were published by “Germany (sic)  based Zambon Press” this company seems a touch difficult to locate, if anyone can discover their German contact details we’d like to hear from you.