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.
From the get go here’s the deal….Tibet has been under a military lockdown since the Chinese army invaded and occupied the country in 1950. Since then the nature and intensity of oppression has gone through phases, but what has remained constant is the complete lack of cultural, religious and political freedom for Tibetans.
One particular trigger for changes to the tyranny imposed upon occupied Tibet occurs in March, when Tibetans recall the Lhasa Uprisings of 1959, 1989 and 2008. Despite assuring the world that Tibetans are content under Chinese rule, the authorities annually flood Tibet with additional paramilitary units. Armored-convoys and military check-points are increased, movement is restricted, and towns placed under siege. Proof that China’s regime is deeply fearful of the reality that Tibetans do not welcome China’s illegal occupation of Tibet.
Reports coming out of Tibet on March 6 have detailed an intensification of so-called ‘security’ measures in Lhasa, Tibetan pilgrims being subjected to interrogation and detention. Another account from Derge (སྡེ་དགེ ) a town in Kham region of eastern Tibet reports that Tibetans have been denied any freedom of movement, even between local settlements. The Chinese regime has ordered Tibetans there to remain at home on March 10 and also shut down access to the Chinese chat application ‘WeChat’.
Such measures reveal the cold truth that haunts the anxieties of the Chinese authorities. That its propaganda claims on Tibet are reduced to ashes by the fact that Tibetans do not wish to be under the control of China and seek freedom for their culture and nation.
In a sleepless effort to push its toxic disinformation on Tibet the Chinese authorities regularly re-write not only historical facts but display a degree of delusion which psychiatrists would advise requires immediate medication. The self-deception and denial which characterizes its claims on Tibet has reached such a stage that dictator Xin Jinping and his politbureau comrades are beginning to confuse their cynical falsehoods as factual representations.
Take a headline in today’s Global Times (a mouthpiece for China’s regime, which postures as an independent media outlet) which announced that the Tibetan capital, Lhasa headed a list of what it described as “China’s (sic) safest cities”.
How has this claimed condition been achieved? Well to examine that spurious and engineered claim we need look no further than comments made by a Mr Wang Liang, described as a senior official of Lhasa Public Security Bureau. Who’s reported to have announced, no doubt with some pride, that: ‘Lhasa has enhanced people’s sense of security through innovative social governance’.
Now there’s a phrase that ranks as euphemism of the year!
Lhasa like the rest of occupied Tibet is not ‘safe’ but effectively under martial law by a foreign occupier and the ‘crime’ featured in the report is coded language for any sign of Tibetan dissent against Chinese rule. This reality is even hinted at within the article which discloses that there are over 100 ‘police service stations’ in the city. Although it chooses not to mention in addition the 24/7 ‘security’ monitoring, torture centers and forced labor camps within the Lhasa area!
So let’s expose this delusional and fallacious report for what it is.
It’s like a psychopath holding a gun to the head of someone and warning them to shut the hell up, while announcing to the cops that his diligent action had pacified the hostage!
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!