On Tuesday, September 3 the Chinese regime authorized in Lhasa, occupied Tibet what was reported to be an ‘international fashion show’. There are many such events promoted by China’s propagandist outlets, across social media and the internet.
It’s a clever deception targeting a western audience, a cynical psy-op to mislead and distract from the traumatizing reality of Chinese rule in Tibet. Fashion, after all, is considered a form of high culture, a beauteous design reflecting modernity. To stage such shows in Tibet offers the oppressors and torturers of the Tibetan people an opportunity to cement in the perception of an occidental mind the notion that China has brought positive development and economic progress.
It also provides the vultures of commerce a chance to profit, which no doubt explains why the following fashion brands were actively involved in the Lhasa event: Chopard, Max Mara, Lane Crawford, Dazzle, Ports 1961, Brunello Cuccinelli, Mikimoto, Mr & Mrs Italy
Yet as their designers, costumers, cosmetic artists, hair stylists and photographers assembled in Lhasa what consideration was given to the condition and suffering Tibetans beyond the show’s security perimeter?
Of course we know the answer, right? A willing collaboration with the Chinese authorities reveals a cold indifference to the misery, injustice, tyranny and torture inflicted upon Tibetans, beyond the four-star venue and hotels which accommodated these companies.
Next time you go to the mall, keep an eye open for products from those fashion brands and ask yourself if anyone supporting freedom and human rights would in all conscience be comfortable with buying any of their products?
Reports from occupied Tibet this week reveal the ongoing assault against Tibetan culture, a number of images showing Tibetan infants being militarized at a local propaganda event aimed at glorifying the Chinese regime’s military. These are of course the very same forces which violently oppress the Tibetan people, in a drive to indoctrinate Tibet’s children they are also deployed as brainwashing units. Holding up China’s occupying army as heroes and ‘protectors of the people’.
Meanwhile in Lhasa on May 15 Chinese surveillance personnel and propagandists were pumping out the latest edicts from the Chinese regime as part of the relentless psyop against Tibetans.
Across the water in a land where its government is often heard to boast of traditions of democracy and human-rights something is very rotten.
This week a Minister of the UK authorities, Gavin Williamson, wassummararilly dismissed from his post by Theresa May, the reason you may wonder?Well, there had been a leak of information to the media from a security star chamber called the National Security Council (NSC). This gathering is attended by Ministers, heads of MI6,GCHQ,MI5 and counter-terrorism police, they are all bound by what’s termed the Official Secrets Act. Which is effectively a state gagging order, violation of which is punishable as a crime.
A rapidly assembled inquiry was launched and within a couple of days the Prime Minister had laidresponsibility for the disclosure at the door of Mr Williamson. He had it was claimedbreached the security protocols and convention of supreme confidentiality under which the NSCoperates. What’s more there wastalk of him being open to prosecution. As it stands hecontinuesto vigorously denysuchcharges and has called for an inquiry into the affair.
What would be revealed if such an investigation was allowed to delve into events which lead to the release of press reports that Theresa May was considering allowing controversial Chinese communications and tech corporation Huawei a contract in constructing a 5G network within the UK?
In all probabilitysuch an examination is not likely as there may well be too many politically sensitive skeletons rattling around, which could prove damagingly embarrassing to the Prime Minister’s government and her Conservative Party. There’s already an indication that the matter is being slammed down with yesterday’s announcement by the Metropolitan Police thatthe disclosure did not constitute a criminal offence, Nor it was claimeddid the informationreleasedbreach the Official Secrets Act.
“I am satisfied that what was disclosed did not contain information that would breach the Official Secrets Act,”said Neil Basu, head of the Met’s specialist operations. “I have considered all the information available to me andI have takenlegal advice.I am satisfied that the disclosure did not amount to a criminal offence either under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) or misconduct in a public office. No crime has been committed and this is not a matter for the police.”(Source: The Guardian 5/4/2019)
This statementraises an interesting possible legal defense for future whistle-blowers who couldargue that it‘s not the action itself which defines if the OSA has been breached but the nature of information. From the government‘s perspective it does something more important, eliminates the risk of exposure within a court, it also returns complete control to them. Who can now bury this controversy deeply away from what could be dangerous further scrutiny. Before exploring further some interesting connections between the UK government, former Ministers and officials with Huawei let‘s change the focus.
While the UK government struggles to justify it’s reported approval of allowingHuawei to engineer the 5G network across Britain, or reassure its allies that any potential security risk can be contained the Chinese corporation is a key facilitator in the oppression of the Tibetan people. Not that the political establishment in London extends any substantial concern towards the plight of Tibet, especially when engaged in lucrative commercial partnerships with Chinese corporations!
Yet if they bothered to carefully assess the role of Huawei in occupied Tibet they would soon realize that its insistence on being an independent business, not influenced or constrained by China’s regimeis palpable nonsense. Like all major corporations within China Huawei is deeply and actively enmeshed with the political machinery of the Chinese state, without the sanction of the authorities it would not exist. It cannot operate without the approval of Xi Jinping and his regime. We are not though talking of a well intentioned company that happens to be under the control of China’s totalitarian tyranny, Huaweiis an engaged player, fully subscribed to the extreme politicalideology which aims to expand Chinese political, military and national interests.
This is shown by its suffocating presence in Tibet where it has been constructing a range of communication and security networks, the purpose of which is to monitor Tibetans, intruding into every aspect of their daily living.Establishing an extensive CCTV coverage, creating facial recognition systems and security barriers at Tibetan monasteries and other public locations.Working in collusion with other Chinese communication providers it has engineered a surveillance network which monitors social-media and telephone systems to identity any dissent against China’s regime.
In this regardit is partnering in the repressive assault against Tibetan cultural and national identity, a collaboration which should be of serious concern to governments, including of that of the United Kingdom, which claim to place the highest value upon human rights and freedoms. Yet it‘sinterest is directed towards strengtheningties with Huawei, even to the extent of jeopardizing security alliances with the USA and other countries.
The prospect of trade and the significant profits which flow from collaborating with the Chinese technology giant are presented as being in the interest of the nation, enablingeconomic and performance benefits fron the latest network platform. Such claims, of course, are open to debate and should be measured against handing over control of communications infrastructure to an arm of the Chinese state.
While the advantages of 5G are promoted as offering a digital revolution such technology also affords a totalitarian state disturbing levels of increased social control and surveillance. That is already happening within China, facilitated by Huawei, while there are now three 5G base-stations operating inside occupied Tibet. One, at the LhasaPost and Telecommunications School, the other two are installed at the office of the TibetPost Group in Lhasa, and in China Mobile’s Tibet branch building.
It‘s said that power corrupts, in realityitprobably reveals an inherent capacity for venality, is such self-interest at the heart of this controversy? Have prominent figures linked to the UK Government and Conservative Party profited from Huawei? Was it coincidental that fairly senior people associated with former Prime Minister David Cameron’s administration were offered and accepted prominent executive positions onto the board of HuaweiUK? Clearly finance has dominated the scene since Huawei promised in 2012 that it would be investing £1.3 billion in the British economy.!
Whatever the facts, which look set to be confined indefinitely to the archives, in defending its partnership with Huawei and risking the integrity of its communications network and national security the UK authorities are collaborating with a corporation which is enabling the violent oppression and 24/7 surveillance of the Tibetan people!
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.
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,”.
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.
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.
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.
No other political authority reaches the excesses of China’s regime when it comes to the deployment of euphemism. Within its monolithic structure there’s a dedicated team engineering pretentious titles to deflect from or mask the odious realities of China’s tyranny.
Take the phrase democratic reform used by China to describe a ‘process’ born it claims from Tibetans, who we are asked to believe appealed for the Chinese authorities to suppress the Lhasa Uprising of 1959. Following that military response the ‘reforms’ were launched with devastating consequences for the Tibetan people and their culture.
Apart from being a calculated deception it is of course an oxymoron of titanic proportions that a totalitarian, self-described communist state, headed by the dictator Mao Zedong could describe the cultural genocide which followed as a democratic transformation.
Whatever injustices existed withing Tibetan society were replaced by a foreign military occupation, mass arrests, forced labor camps, political thought-control, and the armed imposition of policies which targeted Tibetan culture as ideologically corrupt and regressive.
Like a serial kleptomanic who has come to believe his delusional insistence that thievery is economic redistribution, the Chinese government regards its deranged falsehoods as legitimate. In truth the so-called ‘reforms’ it celebrates are a political fiction and no amount of smiling Tibetan dancers performing in the front of Lhasa’s Potala Palace will change that fact.
Thanks to the immense courage of local Tibetans who take a genuine risk in making such information available reports have emerged during the past few days of Tibetans living in Rebgong རེབ་གོང་, རེབ་ཀོང་ located within Amdo region of occupied Tibet being subjected to intensified oppression. With movements restricted, increased surveillance and musicians and beggars banned from streets. These measures are a response from China’s regime to suppress any show of dissent against its illegal and violent rule, particularly during the month of March, which on previous occasions has witnessed Tibetan uprisings and mass protests.
With armed paramilitary roaming the streets, security checks, 24/7 cctv surveillance, over 100 ‘police’ stations and a number of interrogation centers Mr Wang Yongpu a head of Chinese law enforcement proudly declared (March 13, 2019) such measures as resulting in Lhasa, the capital of occupied Tibet, as being virtually crime free.
By ‘crime’ of course he doesn’t mean robbery, traffic offenses, assault and the like, nope he’s talking public dissent against China’s illegal and violent occupation of Tibet.
The city has been on lockdown since China invaded in 1950. Tibetans terrorized into a state of compliance, made aware of the grim consequences of opposing Chinese rule. Torture, forced-labor camps, midnight raids on houses family members disappearing into the darkness.
The latest measures of oppression, including identity cards, facial recognition technology and tight restictions on movement across Lhasa have added to the suffocation endured by Tibetans.
Behind however the technology and security stratagies being praised by the Chinese regime what is maintaining the so-called ‘social harmony’ is the daily reality facing the people of Lhasa that any expression of opposition to China’s presence results in broken bodies and destroyed minds.
* The details of the photographers who took these images have been withheld for reasons of security. These can be added by contacting us to authorize.