Reports coming out of occupied Tibet that Tibetans are being forced to prostrate to images of Chinese dictator and his politburo thugs. Domestic Shrines to Tibetan Buddhist deities and images of the Dalai Lama are being torn sown, only the political leadership of China’s regime is worthy of adoration. Of course as you can see from the photo above Tibetans are so contented and happy to make obeisance to the enlightened, all compassionate Xi Jinping!
We just received a report that in occupied Tibet the Chinese regime is now forcing Tibetans to memorize the words of China’s national anthem, lyrics which praise the glorious ideology of the communist party and supposed progress of the so-called Motherland.
This latest example of tyranny is further evidence of a calculated campaign to eradicate Tibetan national and cultural identity, those failing to comply face the ‘choice’ of prison, forced-labor camps and torture.
Reading of such genocidal assault upon Tibet it’s natural to feel outrage, sadness and indeed for some a sense of despair. Others may regard the momentum of Chinese rule over Tibetans has an inevitable conclusion, the demise of Tibetan culture, crushed into obscurity by increasingly aggressive measures that aim to eliminate the language of Tibet.
Such colonial violence was waged against the Irish when under occupation by the English the reasoning, crude as it is, hopes that in destroying the indigenous spoken language any sense of cultural and national identity is diluted. To the point that with successive generations a compliant, and uncritical population emerges. No doubt thankful and loyal subjects.
While the ability to speak the tongue of your culture and ancestors is a critical component defining the idea of cultural and national identity it’s erosion and forced replacement as a consequence of being occupied by a foreign power does not necessarily mean the game is won for the colonizing tyranny.
Take Ireland and its loss of Gaelic, beaten and humiliated out of Irish mouths by English rule, despite such a loss the resentment and determination among many Irish people to honor and maintain their culture was immensely strong. The language of those taking up arms against England in the cause of Irish freedom, was often English, yet the hearts and minds which sacrificed themselves for that struggle remained profoundly Irish. That reality offers hope for Tibetans suffering under the asphyxiating pressures of Chinese cultural dominance.
While Chinese may in time become the first language of occupied Tibet such a disturbing development would not in itself extinguish a Tibetan identity. That flickering sense of distinctness, if protected and nurtured within, could enable Tibetans to retain a vital connection. Not only with their cultural tradition and past, but as a spark which at some opportune time could allow the re-ignition of Tibetan cultural expression.
Of course it would be preferable if the people of Tibet could maintain their language, but the genocidal policies of China’s regime seek to exterminate a separate Tibetan identity. Language is the prime target. What the psychopaths of the Chinese government fail to understand is that socially engineering, through force, a generation of Chinese-speaking Tibetans does not address the oppression, injustice, suffering and cruelty; which has scarred every single Tibetan family since China invaded Tibet in 1950. It is that harrowing legacy, scorched across the collective memory of Tibetans, which will continue to undermine attempts to expunge the distinctiveness of Tibetan character.
Sure, it could be that with 24/7 Chinese language internet and television pumping into Tibetan homes, with ‘must speak Chinese’ requirements for employment and schoolchildren taught only Chinese we may well see a future Tibet in which Tibetan is a relic language. The interest only of academics and linguists. But depressing as that grim vision is, we believe it’s more than probable that political and civil dissent to Chinese rule will continue into the future, that the past will not be forgotten. What makes a people is more than language, and a culture and sense-of-belonging is not, as shown by history, vanquished by terrorism and persecution. Hope remains, even if its first words are in the language of an oppressor!
That China’s regime is guilty of cultural genocide against the Tibetan people is known the world over, and despite the propaganda gloss; which claims Tibet was ‘liberated’ and that since then Tibetans have enjoyed economic and social progress, people are not fooled by such disinformation.
What’s perhaps not realized though is the fear which China’s tyranny exerts upon Tibetans, it has traumatized an entire people, the psychological damage arising from years of abuse, oppression and military occupation has terrorized Tibetans. They feel asphyxiated and under an ever present condition of anxiety, for the consequences of a stray word or action are grim indeed!
There’s much evidence to support this, including studies on the rise of alcohol abuse within Tibet (the availability of cheap alcohol is but one toxic consequence of Chinese rule) and also the documented testimony of Tibetans who have reported on the harrowing conditions they face.
If you want an insight into the terror which has been instilled into Tibetans by China’s regime then look no further than the disturbing videos which are available online of self-immolations against Chinese rule. They are of course extremely unsettling, yet apart from the sacrifice and harrowing nature of protest, there’s something equally worrying, hidden in plain sight. This can be seen in the video below (advisory-graphic content) which shows a 63 year-old Tibetan, named as the Venerable Tengha, who self-immolated November 26 2017 in Kardze, Kham region of eastern Tibet, in protest against China’s vicious and illegal occupation of Tibet.
It’s almost impossible not to find your attention fixed on the actions of that courageous Tibetan as he rolls in flames across the ground, but if you can refocus onto the Tibetans standing within feet of this event. Ask yourself why is it that not one of them runs to the aid of their compatriot? You may also question why it is that a people whose main religion is Buddhism appear to be bereft of any sense of compassion as he suffers before their eyes? Just what is it that seems to holding them there like silent witnesses? Where is the basic human nature to intervene?
What you are seeing here is of course not an absence of humanity, or a desire to help someone in such a plight, nor indeed is there any lack of compassion within Tibetans, the reason is simply one of fear! Such is the machinery of terror imposed upon people in Tibet that they repress a natural instinct to bring assistance, and are internally conflicted between acting in accordance with their Buddhist culture of compassion and the dark consequences of associating themselves with the self-immolation protestor.
Can you begin to imagine what it must be like to find yourself repressing your values, moral standards and basic humanity for fear of being arrested and tortured?
The sight of body-armoured thugs raising batons against peaceful protest has become a depressingly familiar scene, events in Catalonia a vicious replay of the state suppressing the democratic will of a people. In the case of the Catalans, a just and rightful desire for national freedom is being forcefully denied by an authority which, in its endorsement of police brutality, is reminding the world of the dark days of facism in Spain.
As with Tibetans the cultural and national identity of Catalonia has been shackled. While not suffering a cultural genocide the likes of which Tibet has witnessed since China invaded in 1950, Catalans, like their neighbors in the Basque Country, have endured years of oppression at the hands of a Spanish government that refuses to allow those peoples the full enjoyment of democratic rights. Most importantly on the subject of external self-determination Spain has taken the route of the tyrant, dispatching its security forces to ensure Catalonia remains a Spanish possession.
In this regard, like the Chinese regime, it is acting from a position of fear, a dread of losing control and territory which its exploits. The irony of course is that repression and violence are entirely counter-productive, brutalizing a people has only a superficial effect, as internally it generates a more determined resolve and demand for the very freedoms being refused. The arrival of an independent Catalonia is another step nearer, the draconian excesses of the Spanish police, approved by the authorities, is a major miscalculation. All tyranny falls upon its sword, a fate which awaits the Chinese regime also!
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!
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!
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 MPshould be taking determined and forceful action in bringing their Government to task!
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.
October 2, 2016: A video recently surfaced that shows Chinese cops attacking Tibetans on the sidewalk. It was posted across Twitter by @Lhasa_Bhu who reports this latest case of Chinese tyranny as happening in Eastern Tibet.