Tibet

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?

 

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Twitter Account Trolling Untruths On Political Aspirations Of Tibetans

Occasionally the past has to revisited, especially if events are being re-written and used to deceive and mislead. After all a key objective of this portal on Tibet is to ensure just and challenging reportage. With that in mind we were prompted to draft this expose after receiving a heads-up from our Twitter team @tibettruth. They monitor Tibet related timelines and discovered an account (see image below) which is pushing a major falsehood regarding the political aspirations of Tibetans in occupied Tibet.

This assertion is a gross distortion and designed to mislead those across social media who have little knowledge of the Tibetan issue. You may be wondering why someone would choose to misrepresent this subject? Clearly there’s an agenda at play, one that has a worrying similarity with the propaganda of China’s regime, pushing the falsehood that Tibetans are content under Chinese rule.  Of course to make a lie more palatable a suggestion of credibility helps, and whoever is behind the account has been careful to reference the exiled Tibetan authority. However, that’s another deception, so let’s break this all down and drag the deception into the light.

In 2008 the first Special General Meeting of Tibetans was held in Dharamsala, India  from November 17 to 22. During that event Mr Karma Chophel, then Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile announced   the results of a covert ‘survey’ taken inside Tibet. In which he claimed 17, 000 Tibetans had been asked for their opinions on what solution they favored on Tibet’s status. It was not made clear how this clandestine questionnaire had been made  possible, nor its methodology or indeed the form and nature of questions supposedly presented. The ‘results’ claimed that over 8000 Tibetans stated they’d follow the policy of the Dalai Lama (no surprise there then) while 2000 expressed support for the Middle Way policy. Significantly 5000 Tibetans were said to have demanded an end to the Middle Way in favor of a policy for Tibet’s independence. ( Source: Tibet’s Last Stand, Warren J Smith, 2010).

It is this claim made by the late Mr Karma Chophel which appears to be the source of the fabricated assertions being promoted by the Twitter account shown above, distorted selectively and re-worded to emphasize a core deception. The term ‘poll’ has clear meaning and interpretation to any reader within the relatively free societies of liberal democracies, it also implies a certain authority. But the process of determining public opinion on political issues as hot as Tibet is not tolerated by China’s tyrannical regime. Anyone conducting such a survey, those taking part and their families would face torture, jail, forced labor or execution. The notion therefore that Tibetans took part in a poll to express their view on Tibet’s future status is a nonsense! Furthermore with several million Tibetans not participating in this ‘survey’ the assertion that 71% of Tibet’s population wish to stay within China is a blatant lie and completely inaccurate.

There has never been any political surveys or polls conducted in occupied Tibet, while the exiled Tibetan Administration offers little detail on the subject.

“Similarly, opinions from inside Tibet were also collected during an opinion poll for the referendum in 1995-96. Both written and verbal suggestions were solicited from Tibetans inside Tibet for the First Special General Meeting in November 2008. The majority of these opinions were in support of the Middle Way Approach. (Source: https://www.scribd.com/document/282616503/Middle-Way-Approach-Tibet-and-China-solution)

Hardly the democratic will of the Tibetan people, nor an actual referendum, but informal opinions and proposals, selecting to overlook that on the specific subject of support for the Middle Way those claimed to have declared their views expressed more support for Tibetan independence.  Meanwhile, without any evidence of the methodology employed, nor structure and content of the questions, such declarations are claims only. Contrast these with the wealth of  reports, eyewitness testimony and media accounts that document Tibetans protesting year-after-year for their national freedom.