Reports coming out from Ngaba in Amdo region of occupied Tibet that today a Tibetan named as Yonten carried out a self-immolation protest against the brutal and illegal occupation of Tibet by the Chinese.
Image: made available by courageous Tibetans
That news of this latest sacrifice has managed to get out is testament to the bravery and determination of Tibetans whose land has been placed under a suffocating totalitarian black-out. They took immense risks in making sure information on Yonten’s action reached a global audience.
Like all the Tibetan heroes who stand up against the brutal tyranny of Chinese rule, his sacrifice will not be forgotten.
* Our appreciation to Jigme Ugen for sharing information on this protest.
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!
In that tragic land of a once free and peaceful Tibet we are hearing today, reports of another self-immolation. Details at the time of this post are not completely detailed, but a Tibetan man named as Tseko, self-immolated today in Ngaba, within Tibet’s Amdo region. An action taken in protest at China’s illegal and violent occupation.
Image: courtesy of the bravery of Tibetans inside occupied Tibet
Thanks to those immensely courageous Tibetans for getting news of this to the wider world.
Reports today from occupied Tibet that a 63 year-old Tibetan named as the Venerable Tengha, self-immolated in Kardze, Kham region of eastern Tibet, in protest against China’s vicious and illegal occupation of Tibet. Further details to come.
‘An unidentified Tibetan monk has self-immolated today in Karze, in the traditional Tibetan province of Kham. The Tibetan monk staged a self-immolation protest earlier this morning to challenge the communist regime. It further reported that local officials rushed to the scene and extinguished the flame some minutes into the protest.
The officials took charge of the charred body and carried away. No detailed information about the identity of the monk and whether he is alive or not is unavailable for now amid strict surveillance and heightened restrictions on information outflow.’ Source: Dossier Tibet
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.
Image: photos taken by a courageous Tibetan inside occupied Tibet/graphic via @tibettruth
According to the Tibetan Center for Democracy and Human Rights (TCHRD) “On 12 November, a Tibetan monk named Lobsang Sangyal was released from Mianyang prison near the provincial capital of Chengdu, Sichuan Province in People’s Republic of China”.
Unfortunately due to an editorial policy of TCHRD we do not share or post their reports, why so? Well for some curious reason this Tibetan staffed and managed organization, based in the exiled Tibetan community of Dharamsala, India, consistently repeats and promotes propaganda terminology used by the Chinese regime to support its bogus claims that Tibet is an inalienable part of China. The result is that what are clearly Tibetan towns, villages, and territories are regularly described using cynically fabricated Chinese-sounding terms.This is a gross misrepresentation of the facts regarding Tibet’s geographic and territorial status as a distinct land and culture whose people enjoyed prior to invasion by China in 1950 national freedom with their own government. The TCHRD appears unconcerned by the reality that within international law Tibet remains an independent nation under an illegal occupation. Nor does it appear aware that in employing China’s disinformation it misleads those who regard its publications as a trusted source of information on Tibet. Furthermore its tainted reports, which conform in regards to Tibetan geography with official Chinese descriptions and titles, are effectively endorsing China’s rule over Tibet.
As we have noted before if TCHRD wishes to present itself as a balanced and neutral source, then surely it could, without too much effort in its reportage, describe places accurately as Tibetan (city, town, village, region) and then add in parenthesis the politicized Chinese version. But it does not do so, preferring to emphasize such locations as being in Chinese provinces within China, that is a political decision on its part. Which we oppose!
This is why we choose not to spread reports from TCHRD and prefer to rewrite their content to more accurately inform those who may have little knowledge on Tibet, which we do so below concerning this latest release of a Tibetan political prisoner.
‘Lobsang Sangyal was a monk at Kirti Monastery in Ngaba, Amdo region of occupied Tibet (Chinese: Aba) County in Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province). Chinese authorities restricted the monk’s family members from receiving him outside the prison. Compared to his pre-prison picture with the present, Lobsang Sangyal appears very weak and is said to suffer from memory loss, according to exile Tibetan sources.Previous information released by TCHRD indicates that the monk was detained soon after the self-immolation of his cousin Lobsang Kelsang, also a monk at Kirti Monastery, on 27 August 2012. However exile sources claim that Lobsang Sangyal had been detained several times before his imprisonment in 2012. The reason for 2012 detention that led to his four-year sentencing was due to the sale and distribution of Dalai Lama’s photos and records of the teachings of the Tibetan spiritual leader. TCHRD is unable to verify the exact charges although Lobsang Sangyal has been released. The charges and sentence term imposed on him still remain vague because of the extreme restrictions imposed by the Chinese authorities inside Tibet. Lobsang Sangyal is believed to have returned to his monastery.’ (Source: TCHRD 11/18/2016-Amended to include accurate Tibetan locations)
We wonder how Lobsang Sangyal would feel upon hearing that the TCHRD described him as coming from Sichuan Province in China?