What Action Have These Swiss Parliamentarians Taken To Oppose Their Government’s Armed Suppression of Peaceful Tibetan Protests?

Image: CTA

As these Swiss Parliamentarians would agree, meeting with the Dalai Lama is indeed an honor and privilege, yet we wonder if they would also concur that as friends of the Tibetan people and their cause for national freedom, they’ve a moral obligation to show solidarity with Tibetans, especially when their rights are being oppressed and denied.

With that in mind we ask what action these politicians took in expressing their opposition to the censorship and repression which peaceful Tibetan protesters suffered at the hands of the Swiss Authorities during the recent visit to Switzerland by China’s Xi Jinping? Not only where they victims of excessive and inappropriate policing, but had Tibetan flags and banners calling for Tibet’s independence torn from them by aggressive policemen. Did these Parliamentarians take action on this issue?

As we reported at the time, during the same visit, in the city of Bern armed snipers trained high velocity rifles at non-violent Tibetan demonstrators, revealing a willingness by the authorities to resort to the shooting of unarmed civilians! 

https://tibettruth.com/2017/01/17/swiss-cops-prepared-to-murder-non-violent-tibetans-to-protect-xi-jinping/

This ‘security’ response was demanded and authorized by the national, regional and local governments of Switzerland, a fact which we exposed and challenged, highlighting the role of Mr Reto Nause, Director of Security for Bern. We issued an open letter to Mr Nause and the Swiss Government, unfortunately he refused to respond! 

https://tibettruth.com/2017/01/18/open-letter-to-swiss-authorities-on-disproportionate-and-discriminatory-policing-of-tibetan-protest/

We also wrote a detailed account of these events and our concerns which was sent to virtually all Swiss Parliamentarians, requesting their support in raising such issues with their Government, only one individual had the courtesy to reply!

While it must have been a wonderful occasion to meet with His Holiness, and come away with a precious photo to add to the family album, in light of the serious abuse of human rights and civil freedoms which were forced upon Tibetans in Switzerland , Maya Gref, MP, Green Party, Rosmarie Quadranti, MP, Civil Democratic Party, Marianne Streiff, MP, EPP, Prisca Birrer Heimo, MP, Social Democratic Party, Barbara Gysi, MP, SP and SG, Gina Ruetschi MP should be taking determined and forceful action in bringing their Government to task!

Trampling Over Tibet’s Heroes

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With two more Tibetans self-immolating this week we are again seeing a despairing response from within some sections of the exiled Tibetan community, people are asking in what way are such sacrifices  securing either the attention of a largely indifferent world, or advancing the cause of Tibet’s independence struggle. These are entirely understandable reactions to what are painfully distressing events, yet in a key sense they are the wrong questions, as they are based upon an erroneous understanding that these actions seek a global response, an international condemnation to China’s tyrannical occupation of Tibet. Sure, it would be extremely welcome to see a concerted and forceful response from the international community to the horrors of China’s human rights atrocities against Tibetans. Yet the political and economic interests of  nations ensures a shameful appeasement of China, faces turning away from the decades of suffering endured by Tibet, relieved only by platitudes and hand-wringing. Recall the assurances of the United Nations to the Tibetan hunger-strikers earlier this year? In which, fearful of the prospect of Tibetans starving to death on its New York doorsteps, the UN promised a detailed and urgent investigation into China’s actions in Tibet. Thus far silence, evasion and inaction has followed. So the fiery sacrifices of these Tibetans, even were they seeking international support for Tibet, would; due to the marble-heart of realpolitik, remain ignored or at best offered disingenuous words of concern, measured so as not to offend China.

It is fatuous to even consider that these actions are in themselves trying to secure independence for Tibetans, which inevitably invites the questions, what is the purpose of such sacrifice and who is the intended audience? Perhaps these self-immolations are more accurately understood as expressions of resistance, in which it is the action itself that is the protest, a declaration of Tibetan independence and loyalty to the Dalai Lama. They also defy China’s occupation and are a dramatic reminder that the spirit for Tibet’s national freedom and identity remains undiminished. The sight of Tibetans engulfed in flame, holding aloft the symbol of Tibet’s independence must also have an incredible impact upon the local Tibetan community where they occur, no doubt generating sadness and anxiety but also reinforcing a sense of solidarity, national identity and encouraging a determination to oppose China’s occupation.

They are after all heroes, but the political nature and objectives of their protests sits uneasily with the current position of the Tibetan Administration, keen to avoid mention of Tibet’s independence and desperately trying to assure China that it seeks only improved autonomy under Chinese rule. Aware though of the profound support and emotion within the Tibetan Diaspora towards those who self-immolate, it has to be seen to show respect and honor such sacrifice. Yet it does so by avoiding any mention of the political demands made by such Tibetans  and chooses to represent their actions as a response to China’s policies, or as the only, desperate,  means of protest due to the intensity of China’s suppression of Tibetans. While there maybe a shadow of truth in that for the most part this is a political and cynical version of events, designed to dilute, evade and ignore the central objective common to the majority of such protest, Tibetan independence.

Let us journey to an alternative landscape for a moment, a flight of fancy in which these Tibetans are embraced as they should be by their exiled Administration, as inspiring martyrs to Tibet’s true cause, a reminder to Tibetans everywhere that the only solution that guarantees genuine protection and respect of Tibet’s culture and national identity is the restoration of its independence. Imagine the effect upon the exiled Tibetan community if their sacrifice was seen, not only in terms of tragedy and pain, but as selfless inspiration and courage. Would such a re-interpretation be followed by questions as to why they are offering their lives to asserts Tibet’s rightful national independence yet in exile their Administration is surrendering Tibetan nationhood in exchange for Chinese rule?

These individuals are sending an immensely powerful message, not to the corrupted offices of the UN or Washington DC, but to fellow Tibetans, is their overtly political sacrifice being understood or is it getting lost in the emotional response, the massed prayers and despair and frustration felt among exiled Tibetans? It has been noted by others that the best way to respect the sacrifices made by these Tibetan martyrs is to actively support the cause they gave their lives for, that means advocating, protesting for Tibetan independence. Yet even as the harrowing images of self-immolation emerge from Tibet, and reports document such protests demanding Tibet’s national freedom, the momentum to promote the policy which would accept Chinese rule with limited and cosmetic improvements in autonomy goes on regardless, trampling over the charred remains of Tibet’s heroes.

Exiled Tibetan Administration Censoring Tibet’s True Cause

For a considerable time this site has reported upon, exposed and challenged the exiled Tibetan Administration’s censorship regarding Tibet’s true cause, if you do a search on ‘lodi gyari’, ‘samdhong rinpoche’ and more lately ‘lobsang sangay’ it will become pretty clear that the phrase ‘independence’ is something of a dirty word to those charged with advancing the hopes and rights of the Tibetan people. Indeed there has been operating a sly surrender of Tibet’s right to nationhood, and a betrayal of the struggle and aspirations of Tibetans inside occupied Tibet, for a number of years, driven by an appeasement of China in the vacuous hope of progressing negotiations. This has resulted in a string of dangerous and politically suicidal compromises all of which have undermined, misrepresented and generated disillusionment within the Tibetan movement. Yet the resentment and opposition to such betrayal has been largely muted, the majority of concern expressed away from public scrutiny in Tibetan homes, this is due to a number of societal and cultural factors, obedience and respect towards authority figures being a key influence. Conformity is another, thankfully however there are some who are prepared to  speak out and expose the stifling censorship and manipulation which is preventing any genuine democratic process and debate within Tibetan society.

One such individual is Tenzin  Nyinjey. Tenzin works at the Kashag (equivalent of government) as an assistant to the Kalon Tripa (office of Prime Minister). He will be officially resigning from his job on 31st July 2012. In 2010, he graduated from the University of Wyoming with an MA in Political Science, and returned to India to serve the Tibetan community. He had worked at the Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration from 2003-2007. From 2007-2009 he served as the Managing Editor of Tibet Journal published quarterly by the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamshala.

He has released a statement on this subject, which was published by Dossier Tibet and which we reproduce here in the hope of allowing others to understand better just how the Tibetan cause is being censored and suppressed, by the very people who insist they are committed to supporting Tibet’s people.

“This morning I came across a Facebook wall message posted by one of the Rangzen activists living in the United States, in which he quoted a line from two sympathisers with Tibetan independence, Harry Wu and VR Krishna Iyer, expressing concern at the censorship of words such as “independence” implemented by the Tibetan government-in-exile in its official publications.It is surprising that this terrible truth did not produce much reaction from Tibetan readers of his page.My gut feeling is that this is due to the genius of the ‘Middle-Way’ propaganda that has now fully succeeded in pacifying the Tibetan people’s innate desire for independence, so much so that they don’t bother even when their leaders are openly found engaging in nasty acts of Orwellian censorship.

What is shameful is that protest against the suppression of such truths in our community comes from non-Tibetans rather than from Tibetans themselves. It sort of astounds me how much our consciences have been stifled, and how much we have been alienated from our struggle, that we don’t even feel the need to speak out against such immoral acts committed by our own government.

We all know that the Tibetan leadership began giving up on the struggle for independence in the early 1970s, and did so more formally with the Strasbourg proposal in 1988 in France. Not many of us, however, know that this journey down the road to oblivion was speeded up during Prof Samdhong Rinpoche’s reign as Kalon Tripa, from 2002 to 2011. I experienced it personally, for during that period, around 2003, I joined the Tibetan civil service as a fresh graduate, after going through formal training at the Sarah Tibetan college. I was posted to the Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR), as one of the translators and editors of the publication section. It was led by the late Tendar-la and, until then, produced publications that never compromised on the truth of China’s occupation and colonialism in Tibet, despite the prevailing Middle-Way policy. The department brought out numerous publications condemning China’s colonialism in Tibet and the building of railways that intensified its destruction of our homeland.

As the years progressed, however, all of a sudden the narratives started changing. Words and phrases such as ‘colonialism’ and ‘military occupation’ in official publications started to be replaced by ‘mutually-beneficial solution,’ ‘Tibetans being one of the minority nationalities,’ ‘mainland China,’ ‘China’s rule in Tibet,’ ‘within the framework of Chinese constitution’ and so on—all by order of Samdhong Rinpoche. In fact, during one of the official meetings chaired by the Kalon Tripa, Gyari Rinpoche openly reprimanded a leading official and editor of DIIR for continuing to use words like ‘colonialism’ in DIIR publications. Writers like Lukar Jam observed these ominous changes and criticised them in their essays (Lukar was later forced to resign from his work at the Department of Security), but not many of us heeded them. On the contrary, we blindly accused them of blasphemy, of going against the ‘wishes of the Dalai Lama,’ ‘of being Chinese spies,’ of breaking ‘the unity of Tibetan people,’ and ‘playing into the hands of the Chinese regime.’

Such kneejerk reactions from our people were understandable given that we have been brought up within a system that injects in us passivity and obedience to leadership. Indeed, most of us, having been brought up with a belief in the infallibility of our leadership, faithfully followed whatever course Dharamshala charted for our future. We rarely imagined that the leaders in Dharamshala were human beings, with all the possibilities of making mistakes, and thus blindly placed our destiny in their hands. So, our leaders are not to be blamed alone—we all share a collective responsibility in this.

For instance, in my own near-blind obedience as a bureaucrat, I thought the policies for our struggle were framed independently at the Kashag. It was only later when I was told to transcribe and translate into English the taped lengthy discussions that took place between Gyari Rinpoche and Zhu Weichun in Beijing that I was made to realise that all these decrees not to use words like ‘colonialism’ came explicitly from the lips of the Chinese authorities. Under the slogan ‘creating a positive atmosphere for dialogue,’ the Chinese negotiators told our Tibetan authorities that Tibetan exiles shouldn’t protest Chinese leaders visiting foreign countries, and if all went well, then they would seriously consider the desire expressed by the Tibetan leaders for a possible visit by the Dalai Lama to the Buddhist pilgrimage site Wutaishan in China. The fox-like-cunning and trickery of the Chinese negotiators is now evident, when I look back, in the way the Chinese made it all sound ‘sincere’ and ‘serious,’ and thus fooled us into believing, that they would invite the Dalai Lama to China if Tibetan exiles ‘behaved’ well—that is if we stopped all protests.

Of course, we all know the results of those negotiations. The Chinese never invited the Dalai Lama to visit Wutaishan, nor did they negotiate for Tibetan autonomy; they never intended to, right from the beginning. Instead, what happened were the massive 2008 Tibetan protests, followed by a violent military crackdown. Since then the situation inside Tibet has gotten worse with the ongoing self-immolations. Tibetans inside Tibet, who have experienced firsthand China’s occupation and colonialism for decades, know that the only language colonial masters speak with the so-called natives is that of violence and repression, not ‘dialogue,’ and therefore, the only way out is resistance—passive or active, non-violent or armed.”

(Tenzin Nyinjey: Source Dossier Tibet)

A Response To The Distortions Of Tibetan PM’s March 10 Statement

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So not surprised to note the statement of exile Tibetan Prime Minister, Lobsang Sangay, his words demonstrate the huge disconnect between the exiled Tibetan Administration and the struggle and objectives of its people inside occupied Tibet. Firstly shall we make clear Lobsang la that, the motivations and political objectives of those Tibetan martyrs who -self-immolated, are clear for all to see.

Anyone reading the political testaments from these Tibetans, or eyewitness testimony of such events cannot fail to note that what these heroes sacrificed themselves for was, Tibet’s national freedom and independence, along with declaring support for the Dalai Lama. Yet in your March 10 statement you choose not only to ignore that fact, but through implication of motive, to misrepresent their actions by claiming that:
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“The self-immolations are an emphatic rejection of the empty promises of the so-called ‘socialist paradise.” http://tibet.net/2012/03/10/statement-of-kashag-on-53rd-tibetan-national-uprising-day/

This fact-free statement betrays what your compatriots offered their lives for, as they did not engulf themselves in fire, simply to protest undelivered policies or improvements made by China’s regime. It is extremely disappointing that as head of the exiled Tibetan Administration you have issued such distortions, which are aggravated by your comments on the nature of Tibet’s cause

“The Tibetan struggle is not against the Chinese people or China as a nation. It is against the PRC government’s policies” http://tibet.net/2012/03/10/statement-of-kashag-on-53rd-tibetan-national-uprising-day/

Such words avoid a reality of colossal dimensions, in that Tibetans are struggling, as evidenced by countless reports, for their national independence, in doing so it is natural and inevitable that your people see China and its occupiers for what they are, foreign oppressors. Moreover, Tibetans regularly expose themselves to arrest, torture and Chinese bullets not to seek, as you suggest, a moderation of policies or improvements in areas of employment, health, or education, but to demand Tibetan independence.

It is fine to close your statement with a hope for freedom and reunification, no one supportive of Tibet would oppose such a prospect, but perhaps you would care to explain why you take such detailed care to avoid and misrepresent whenever the subject of Tibet’s rightful independence arises?