From the get go here’s the deal….Tibet has been under a military lockdown since the Chinese army invaded and occupied the country in 1950. Since then the nature and intensity of oppression has gone through phases, but what has remained constant is the complete lack of cultural, religious and political freedom for Tibetans.
One particular trigger for changes to the tyranny imposed upon occupied Tibet occurs in March, when Tibetans recall the Lhasa Uprisings of 1959, 1989 and 2008. Despite assuring the world that Tibetans are content under Chinese rule, the authorities annually flood Tibet with additional paramilitary units. Armored-convoys and military check-points are increased, movement is restricted, and towns placed under siege. Proof that China’s regime is deeply fearful of the reality that Tibetans do not welcome China’s illegal occupation of Tibet.
Reports coming out of Tibet on March 6 have detailed an intensification of so-called ‘security’ measures in Lhasa, Tibetan pilgrims being subjected to interrogation and detention. Another account from Derge (སྡེ་དགེ ) a town in Kham region of eastern Tibet reports that Tibetans have been denied any freedom of movement, even between local settlements. The Chinese regime has ordered Tibetans there to remain at home on March 10 and also shut down access to the Chinese chat application ‘WeChat’.
Such measures reveal the cold truth that haunts the anxieties of the Chinese authorities. That its propaganda claims on Tibet are reduced to ashes by the fact that Tibetans do not wish to be under the control of China and seek freedom for their culture and nation.
Imagine if you will that one day a foreign army invades your neighborhood, enforces a lockdown and then imposes a series of draconian new rules. It announces that the name by which you and your family have known the town for generations is now changed to a verison in their language. Any dissent will be met with arrest, torture or execution. One of the new policies requires you to celebrate the New Year, not on 31st December but the 15th February. On that day you will parade carrying the flag of the tyranny which now terrorizes your community.
Allow us to introduce you to a village (in the Tibetan region of Kongpo renamed by the Chinese regime as Nyingchi) that’s around 6 hours drive east of Lhasa. As you can see from the photo above, taken around February 12 the local Tibetans were lined-up to wave the Chinese flag as part of what was described in the propaganda website ‘China Tibet Online’ as a ‘Losar celebration in a Tibetan village’. For untold generations the Tibetans of Kongpo tradionally celebrated their New Year in November, why then are these villagers supposedly enjoying festivities in February? Either the authentic customs of the area have been eradicated, or these Tibetans have been forced into a propaganda photo-shoot to coincide with the date of the Chinese Spring Festival.
This is further evidence of Tibetan traditions being suppressed and replaced with events dictated by the Chinese authorities. What has been since ancient times a festival welcoming the New Year, honoring the spirits of land and water and dispelling negativity along with the old year, has been debased into a crass political stage-show.
We’re just gonna call this one right out. Certain departments within Columbia University are riddled with supposedly objective academics, who in truth are actively promoting a bias which has its origins in the propaganda laboratories of China’s regime. Especially when it comes to the subject of Tibet. Yet despite the academic posturing and intellectual presentations it’s apparent that an agenda is being pressed, one which has the fingerprints of the Chinese Communist Party all over it. Students attending classes on Tibetan history or culture are exposed to information that has a worrying resemblence to the official distortions found in the statements of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prominent ‘authorities’ on Tibet who have extracted a profitable academic career from the plight of Tibetans collaborate closely with the Chinese authorities. Some go much further, becoming advocates of China’s presence in Tibet, others apply a distorting veneer over Tibetan history or overtly misrepresent the facts. Such deceptions, for that is what they are, lie barely concealed within the specialized lexicon of what is termed, ‘Tibetology’. Such ‘useful idiots’, as Stalin would have recognized them, are of value to the Chinese authorities, who consider that ‘academics’ (especially of non-Chinese origin) promoting their falsehoods on Tibet carry a persuasive and authoratitive voice. Moreover such individuals are often called upon by a largely unthinking media to offer ‘informed’ perspectives and insights on the issue. Thus enabling the toxic propaganda to be published across mainstream media as ‘objective’ analysis, while in truth it’s the approved dogma of China’s tyrants.
Columbia University has become something of a welcoming base for such operations, and also an active and willing partner with the controversial Confucius Institute. An organization which covertly is little more than a resource of the Chinese security services, trawling human intelligence information behind the mask of cultural events and courses. On October 6, 2017 a day-long conference was hosted at Columbia University entitled ‘Beyond Empire and Borders: The Third International Conference on the Qing Dynasty and Inner Asia” . The list of participants, many drawn from Chinese institutions, included Mr Tsering Shakya and Mr Robert Barnet who have on numerous occasions invited the concern and outrage of Tibetans for comments which can at best be described as peddling China’s untruths on Tibet. No coincidence either that the event, so we are advised, was sponsored by none other than the Confucius Institute!
Today the Chinese Regime released an official list of state-approved Tibetan Buddhist Lamas. It did so under the guise of protecting people from what it claims as fake ‘Living Buddhas’ who we are asked to believe are cynically exploiting the innocent and gullible by passing themselves off as genuine reincarnations of revered Tibetan Buddhists.
Well sure the world has its share of phony mystics and ‘spiritual’ teachers but in this case we need to look beyond the propaganda to see the motives and objectives at work.
For years China’s authorities have targeted Tibetan Buddhism with a view to imposing complete control over Tibetans and Buddhist thinking which are considered with suspicion and fear. Such has been the imposition of regulations and penalties imposed upon Tibetan monasteries that these former centers of Buddhism and learning have effectively been transformed into detention centers, complete with para military check-points, protected with machine-guns and razor-wire!
Meanwhile a ceaseless ideological war has been waged against Tibetan monks and nuns, a campaign of brain-washing (sorry that should read, according to official Chinese sources ‘re-education’) aimed at inducing patriotism towards the Motherland and encouraging loyalty to the Regime! Such is the extent of restriction and interference that even the tradition and rarefied process of identifying reincarnated Buddhist Lamas now requires administrative approval from the Chinese regime.
While Tibetan cultural identity and Buddhism faces this relentless assault the communist party of China has no difficulties in appointing a number of fake ‘living Buddhas’ to promote its disinformation on Tibet. Including most notoriously a bogus Panchen Lama (see photo above) there are many others, including below:
Such is the context that needs to be considered when reading today’s report that the Chinese government has released a ‘verified living Buddha’ list. We should remind ourselves too that a six-year old Tibetan child, Gendun Choekyi Nyima, was on May 17, 1995, disappeared along with his family and caretakers, to become the youngest political prisoner in the world. He had been recognized that same year as the 11th Panchen Lama by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, an acknowledgement which prompted China’s regime to arrest the boy, who has not been seen since, and appoint its own fake ‘living Buddha’!