Radio Free Asia-A Conduit For China’s Disinformation On Tibet

RFA Tibetan Service Director Kalden Lodoe

Image: print-screen

A question. Why is Mr Kalden Lodoe, Tibetan Director of Radio Free Asia (Tibetan Service) approving from his colleagues output such as this?

“And in March 2008, a riot in Lhasa followed the suppression by Chinese police of four days of peaceful Tibetan protests and led to the destruction of Han Chinese shops in the city and deadly attacks on Han Chinese residents. The riot then sparked a wave of mostly peaceful protests against Chinese rule that spread across Tibet and into Tibetan-populated regions of western Chinese provinces.” (emphasis added) Source: RFA-Tibetan Pilgrim Sees Restrictions, Heavy Police Presence in Lhasa 2018-08-31

You would be forgiven on reading the quote above to wonder if it had been written by an official within China’s Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, or its propaganda channel, Xinhua news. Why do we say this?

The syntax used has a striking similarity with terminology used by official Chinese sources. The description as ‘a riot’ of the Tibetan response to a brutal oppression in Lhasa during 2008 is precisely the narrative used by China’s regime at that time. Seeking to denigrate and misrepresent Tibetans as rioters, engaged in criminal behavior, while conveninently ignoring the legitimate protests against China’s illegal and vicious rule. The reference to ‘deadly attacks on Han Chinese residents‘ is also borrowed from China’s disinformation on those demonstrations.

The closing sentence concludes by endorsing the fact-free claims of China’s regime regarding Tibetan territory by repeating their propaganda: ‘…that spread across Tibet and into Tibetan-populated regions of western Chinese provinces.’ The so-called western Chinese provinces referred to in reality are the traditional Tibetan regions of Amdo and Kham.

So if Chinese propagandists did not write such baseless drivel who did? Well the people responsible are employed by Radio Free Asia (Tibetan Service) in Washington DC. A body influenced and controlled by the State Department, via the US Agency For Global Media. There is also, so some have discussed, a pro-China sway within the organization, ultimately though the English version of such reports  is down to a Richard Finney.  An individual who consistently features such misleading and toxic propaganda into reports on Tibet, betcha his State Department controllers must be very pleased with his contributions. After all they have for decades appeased China’s bogus claim over Tibet!

Can Doctor Lobsang Sangay Escape These Charges?

Image:archivenet

Following extremely serious charges  SEE HERE placed before Doctor Lobsang Sangay’s office by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, a Press Statement See HERE bearing the name of Mr. Lobsang Choedak has today been issued that partially responds to the allegations made by the Congressman. Significantly though this curiously unsigned statement evades entirely the charge that some ‘Tibetan leaders’ have been “cutting a deal with a corrupt and despotic regime”. Why?

Apart from refuting other criticisms made by Congressman Rohrabacher, it is also careful to include the following assertion on Radio Free Asia (RFA):

“RFA Tibetan Service was established to provide truthful and objective service to Tibetans particularly to listeners in Tibet deprived of unbiased and timely news and information”. (Emphasis Added)

This is an important statement in that it brings into question the Tibetan reportage of RFA which consistently features China’s propaganda terminology, in describing Tibet, its regions and people. A key question which is being somewhat overlooked in the heat and smoke surrounding this controversy is why for a number of years has RFA presented such a bias and willingly featured China’s disinformation? Just how truthful, objective and unbiased is it of Radio Free Asia to describe a Tibetan, who self-immolates in Labrang in Amdo region of occupied Tibet as ‘ethnic Tibetan self-immolated in a Tibetan area of Qinghai province’?

These, and other pressing questions remain unanswered, such as why has Doctor Lobsang Sangay not issued a signed, official statement which addresses  all the allegations made by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher? An unsigned press release is less than reassuring and hardly an appropriate or detailed response. Given the importance of this matter Tibetans have the right to expect a full and transparent public response from Doctor Sangay, anything else is simply political escapology.