With the commemoration of the 1959 Lhasa Uprising on March 10 we’d like to invite friends and subscribers to show support for Tibet’s just cause by joining our online lobby of political representatives.
It only takes a few minutes but sends a powerful communication in support of Tibetan national freedom to your local and regional politician.
Anyone with an interest in Tibet will eventually come across online references to Tibet being a part of China or claims insisting that since ancient times Tibetans have been ruled by China or under its control and influence. Such assertions promoted by propaganda mouthpieces such as Xinhua, Global Times and China Daily are usually accompanied by three deceptions and distortions. Which we take great delight in exposing below:
The ‘Ancient Tibetan King Had A Chinese Wife Claim’
The recorded claim that Wencheng, a Chinese Princess married the 7th Century Tibetan king Songsten Gambo is one of the devices used to press the falsehood of China’s claims over Tibet. Arguing that her marriage with a Tibetan ruler established a legitimacy regarding Chinese claims on Tibet. This specious reasoning is of course a nonsense. The Tibetan ruler in question also received a Nepalese wife at the same time, so perhaps Nepal should counter China’s cynical and baseless claims!
To further understand how ridiculous these bogus assertions are we need to look, not in 7th Century Tibet, but medieval France and its rival England. At a time equally marked by power politics and alliances. It is around the year 1122 and Éléonore de Guyenne was born. She was to become one of the most powerful and richest women in Europe. Receiving the title Duchess of Aquitaine, and eventually queen consort of France (1137–1152) and of England (1154–1189). Eleanor of Aquitane, as English historians recorded her name, married on May 18 1152 her cousin, Henry Plantagent, who was to become two years later the King of England.
The marriage lasted some thirteen years during which she bore Henry eight children: five sons, three of whom would become kings, and three daughters. Clearly a dynastic alliance and important to note one involving family members, all of whom were French, including England’s ruler! Now if we apply China’s distorted ‘reasoning’ that asserts legitimacy over Tibet, on the basis of ancient allegiances and marriage, then we must now consider that France could lay claim to the United Kingdom due to the historical truth of Eleanor’s marriage to Henry II of England!
The ‘Tibet Was Under The Control of The Yuan Dynasty Claim’
The so-called Yuan Dynasty during which China’s regime insists Tibet was part of China was in fact a time (nearly a hundred years in duration) when China proper was controlled, occupied and ruled by the Mongolians. Who while extending influence over, never conquered Tibet. Chinese historians and its present regime try to conceal the historical fact that China was part of the Mongolian Empire (dominated by non-Han rulers) by naming it as the ‘Yuan (new) Dynasty’.
China’s propagandists argue that as Tibet was within the territory ruled by so-called Yuan Dynasty is evidence that it historically is an inalienable part of China. Oh boy! The truth is that on the reasoning of conquest and political power it is Mongolians, the foreign rulers who occupied and ruled China at that period who can more legitimately claim that Tibet belongs to Mongolia!
The ‘Tibet Came Under The Patronage Of A Chinese Emperor Claim’
The final falsehood employed to press claims of legitimacy of Chinese rule over Tibet uses the argument of ‘previous control’. However this assertion derives from the Qing Dynasty when the Emperor K’ang Hsi (who was himself was a Manchu being Central Asian and not Chinese) intervened in Tibetan affairs, most particularly relating to Buddhism. Establishing what China’s regime claims was a condition of suzerainty over Tibet.
Well a few important considerations here, firstly the Dynasty in question (like that of cynically renamed ‘Yuan’) was not Chinese but Manchurian, a people and culture who had more in common with Tibetans than the Han society. Secondly although Chinese forces established military victories in some parts of eastern Tibet, large parts of such territory was regained by Tibetans in 1865 and later Chinese control was ended there when Tibetans expelled Chinese forces in the early 20th Century.
So there we have it folks, next time you see any hysterical (no mispelling there) claims that Tibet has always been a part of China you know what to say to such BS.
It’s been an amazing day of global action for Tibet’s just cause. Rallies around the continents of the world have raised the Tibetan flag and shown solidarity with the Tibetan people and their rightful demands for an independent Tibet. As we write this ongoing actions are still taking place in New York City, San Francisco, Boston and Minnesota.
Today is the commemoration of the Lhasa Uprisings of 1959, 1987-89 and 2008 when Tibetans took to the streets to oppose Chinese rule, at a disturbing cost to lives and individual freedom. The response from China’s regime was brutal, mass arrests, torture, Tibetans gunned-down, the record of these protests is bloody indeed.
After the March 10 1959 uprising the Chinese regime was quick to forge the narrative of a failed rebellion, releasing staged footage of Tibetans surrendering and laying down rifles. It was a story taken up by global media and decades later remains a journalistic cliché when reporting on the event.
No doubt this brings a warm glow of satisfaction to China’s Ministry of Propaganda, yet in consistently framing events in Lhasa on that day as a failure journalists are offering a slanted and less than complete account. For example in focusing on the military supremacy of China’s troops the courage, determination of Tibetans is ignored.
Yet it was their resistance and heroism which organized and protected the Dalai Lama’s journey into exile. That action resulted in the establishment of the exiled Tibetan government, creation of Tibetan settlements in India and the preservation and promotion of Tibetan culture for the tens of thousands of Tibetans who followed their leader across the Himalaya.
Moreover armed resistance to Chinese rule had predated the Lhasa Uprising (Tibetans inflicting significant losses on China’s army), this guerilla movement continued until the 1970s, only to be betrayed by then President Nixon and his advisor Henry Kissinger.
In truth the Tibetan spirit of defiance for Tibet’s national freedom was not defeated in Lhasa on March 10 1959, as evidenced by the continuence of the struggle, and revealed in mass-demonstrations of the 1980s and during 2008. This is not a failure, but a response of determination, bravery and hope. Such commitment continues today as Tibetans and their supporters around the world come together to raise the national flag of Tibet.
Journalists who write on this matter need to be mindful of these factors and think carefully about uncritically repeating China’s official line on events in Lhasa at that time. Is it really about being ‘balanced’ when talking of a ‘failed uprising’, minus important factual context? We wonder if the same correspondents and news agencies consistently describe the United States involvements in Afghanistan or Vietnam as ‘failed military campaigns’?
Having endured freezing temperatures and the ever present hazards of traffic since walking from Philadelphia to New York City, the magnificent seven Tibetan marchers for Tibet’s independence will be arriving outside the UN building at 8.30 AM. Later in the day there’s a rally including guest speakers; Sonam Wangdu, Jamyang Norbu, Dorjee Tseten and Tseten Lhagyal, all strong voices for Tibet’s national freedom. If you can make it do come along and show your solidarity.
Let’s hear it for the magnificent seven Tibetans currently walking from Philadelphia to New York City; Kunga Norbu, son of Dalai Lama’s older brother, Taktser Rinpoche, Tenzin Wangdue, executive member, Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, New York, Sunny Sonam, organizer of the North American Miss Tibet, Lobga Rangzen, executive member, Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, New York, Samgha, antiques dealer, Dhondup Lhadar, former executive member, Tibetan Youth Congress, Dharamsala.
All of whom are commited to Tibetan independence and through this action wish to show solidarity with their compatriots inside occupied Tibet, raise awareness of the Tibetan issue and to demonstrate support for the just cause of Tibetan independence. They also have released five demands of national and local government, and the United Nations, which seek more active support for and recognition of Tibet’s sovereignty.
As their press statement notes: “Without restoring independence, Tibetans shall have no future. We urge all freedom and justice loving people to support us. All of us marchers are staunch believers in the restoration of Tibetan independence; in the past, to demand independence for Tibet, we had sat on hunger strikes for more than a month in India and US. Moreover, we had marched for thousands of miles and led many other campaigns aimed at restoring Tibetan independence.”
They arrive at NYC on March 9 and will be outside the UN Headquarters.
Over a 150 Tibetan activists from India, Nepal, United States of America and Europe are attending the 5th International Rangzen Conference. A platform to explore, advance and examine the cause of Tibetan independence. It is being held May 23 to 25 in Dharamsala, Northern India.
Image: Carlo Buldrini
We wish this conference every success in progressing the legitimate cause of Tibet’s national independence.