Looking at the image above we see the arrogant triumphalism of the colonizer, imposing their culture upon an oppressed people, whose lands and freedom have been stolen. More closely still and an underlying racism is present, a sense of superiority, regarding itself as a bringer of so-called civilization.
Yet there’s an even darker force at work here, a calculated and socially engineered assault. One that seeks to eliminate a cultural identity, to degrade, criminalize, humiliate and replace a culture, forcing a people into accepting the traditions and values of a foreign tyranny.
The First Nations of North America have of course been through that genocidal process, they too were forced into the clothes of their oppressor, marginalized, brainwashed and terrorized into complying with the dictates of an oppressive, merciless and exploitative occupier.
Cultural genocide is not a fading sepia page of history, as the Tibetan people know very well.
“In Tibet we freed the serfs, and how are American friends not able to understand this? This is also a human rights issue. If you look at it from Lincoln’s point of view, he would have approved of China overturning the serfdom system in Tibet.” Minister Yang Xiaodu at China’s 19th Communist Party Congress. Reuters Report October 19. 2017
Let’s introduce some key facts to counter this fallacious falsehood peddled by Mr Yang Xiaodu
Firstly while no analogy is ever truly perfect, a comparison between Tibet and the plight of Africans who were enslaved, transported from their homelands and brutalized as slaves in the United States is thoroughly inaccurate and cannot be sustained in any logical fashion. President Lincoln in bringing to an end slavery was returning freedom to a people who had been forced into that misery by colonial powers, African traders and of course European colonizers of North America. The latter of whom while viciously exploiting black people were waging a war of cultural genocide against the First Nations!
Since Mr Yang Xiaodu appreciates drawing parallels he would be on safer ground to examine the similarities between the plight of native peoples (who were slaughtered, enslaved and marginalized by aggressive and greed driven colonialist invaders) and Tibetans, who since China invaded in 1950 have been subjected to a program of cultural genocide and assimilation.
Regarding this notion of ‘serfdom’, it has to be said, that beyond the unquestioning automata of China’s regime, there exist an interesting minority of folks who appear uncritical believers of China’s propaganda line on Tibet as some supposedly backward and oppressed culture, ruled over by an exploitative elite. Subscribers to that thinking may consider (in accepting to such claims) themselves as firmly planted upon an objective middle ground. Between the odious realities of China’s rule in Tibet and the alternative narrative offered by those dismissing such as crude propaganda. However that position is a delusion, as with tyranny and the illegal occupation of a nation, there is no ‘golden mean’ of understanding.
Nor is China’s invasion of Tibet, and subsequent vicious assault upon Tibetan culture, justified by arguments drawn from colonialist attitudes, concealing the expansionist aggression and injustices of the invading imperialists with a hogwash of lies about improving the lot of the ”natives’! The same ‘reasoning’ would no doubt be used by the ignorant or misinformed in defense of the treatment dished out to the indigenous peoples of the USA, Canada or Australia!
Tibetan culture was centered upon Buddhism, moreover traditionally its population was almost entirely nomadic, with families enjoying a high degree of freedom across the vast Tibetan landscape. Sure, like all other societies inequality and injustice was present, there were obligations concerning tax to monasteries, beggars could be seen on the streets of Lhasa. Nor is it inaccurate to say that political power rested with an elite. No country however has yet evolved a system of governance or economy in which social stratification or disadavantage is absent.
As a Minister of the Chinese regime Mr Yang Xiaodu and his fellow tyrants draft the official narrative scheduled to mark the so-called ‘Serfs Emancipation Day’ on March 28 2019 he should consider (given the immense hardships which are suffered by countless numbers of people across China) that while Tibetan culture was short of being a utopia. In comparison to the misery, death, oppression and atrocities generated by his beloved communist Chinese ideology it’s not difficult to recognize Tibetan Buddhist society as being based upon values of compassion and individual freedom. That does not claim any perfect society but one that cannot, unlike communist China be held responsible for the deaths and suffering of untold millions.
Doctor Lobsang Sangay, exiled Tibetan ‘political leader’ has been at it again, banging the drum for a strategy which appeases the Chinese regime and actively abandons Tibet’s legitimate right to nationhood. Presently in Canada to seek political support for that dangerous compromise; described as a ‘Middle Way Policy’, he has been carefully associating nationalism with terrorism.
“Globally, you can see there is a decline of internationalism and liberalism compared to the 1990s, and there is an increase of nationalism and extremism around the world.” (Source: The Globe and Mail, 11/21/2016. Emphasis added)
A worrying similar line of argument is used by China’s government against Uyghurs, Tibetans and Mongolians seeking freedom from Chinese oppression! Not that Doctor Sangay would wish to distance himself from the official thinking of China, he has after all dedicated his activities towards reassuring China that Tibetans are not seeking national freedom but only the fair application of current Chinese national and regional law on autonomy for so-called ‘ minorities’.
That he positions himself as the spokesperson of some 6 million Tibetans and claims to represent the political consensus is troubling. Particularly when viewed against the reality that inside Tibet dissent against Chinese rule is not articulating a desire for improved autonomy as dictated by the laws of China’s Communist Party regime. Tibetans enduring a miserable existence under Chinese rule are demanding their national freedom, an objective which according to his numerous comments, is anathema to Lobsang Sangay.
Just how removed he is from the struggle and hopes of his own people is revealed by remarks he made during an interview with the Globe and Mail: “Our government will continue to have frank discussions with China, includingon the respect for the rule of law and human rights of all Chinese citizens, including Tibetans. (Source: The Globe and Mail, 11/21/2016. Emphasis added)
The message is pretty darn clear and by rights should be setting off alarms across the Tibetan Disapora. That they have in place a leader willing to publicly concede that Tibetans are not a distinct people with a right to national, cultural, territorial and political freedom, but are in his view Chinese citizens seeking an equitable application of law, as framed by China’s regime!
And looking around the world what model does Doctor Sangay turn to that according to his thinking may support his vision of dutiful, law-abiding Tibetans as Chinese citizens enjoying a meaningful autonomy? Why, the federalism applying to Quebec and Canada’s treatment of ‘minorities’!
Quite how he reaches the conclusion that a democratic federalist structure, based upon values of human rights and individual freedoms can operate within China’s draconian Marxist inspired polity is beyond calculation! And this from a man who stated that his version of autonomy for Tibetans is not seeking democratic freedoms, (VIDEO link) makes the chance of a genuinely liberal federalist system benefiting Tibetans even more fanciful than it already is.
Meanwhile Doctor Sangay appears to have a curiously ill-informed understanding regarding the condition of native peoples living within Canada,
“I think Canada can proudly share its experience on how to solve minority issues,”.
Really? So the pervasive racism, economic apartheid, social, and employment disadvantages that operate against First Nations are an illusion, or injustices of the past? If you think that Doctor Sangay then clearly you are ignorant of daily life as experienced by Canada’s aboriginal communities. As noted by a revealing article from Scott Gilmore:
“By almost every measurable indicator, the Aboriginal population in Canada is treated worse and lives with more hardship than the African-American population. All these facts tell us one thing: Canada has a race problem, too.” (Source: Canada’s Racism Problem? It’s Even Worse Than America’s. Macleans 1/22/2015)
Tibetans suffering under China’s merciless rule know very well the misery of being oppressed, marginalized and targeted by racism, and would recognize the plight of First Nations in Canada. What a pity that Harvard educated Lobsang Sangay is so worryingly unaware of the circumstances in which many Canadian ‘minority’ groups are surviving. How, we wonder, would he feel if a visiting dignitary to China declared that the Chinese government ‘Can proudly share its experience on resolving minority issues’ while Tibetans are violently denied their freedom, forced from their lands into concentration camps and face an assault against their culture and national identity! It’s a litany of oppression that native people in Canada are familiar with, not only from history but the present.