Appeasing China, News Item, Tibet

High In Tibet The New York Times Promotes China’s Lie That Buddhism Is Flourishing

Image:earchitect

As newspapers go the New York Times (NYT) is right up there. A major media voice, respected  across the industry and a  trusted news source. Unless that is its reportage concerns Tibet, for then its strident and independent journalism gives way to an uneasy accommodation. Critical and objective reporting is replaced by credulity. Readers are exposed to an editorial take on Tibet that has a worrying similarity to the official propaganda generated by the Chinese regime. Headlines and article content are saturated with terminology that may as well have been crafted by China’s ministry of disinformation. The purpose of which is to promote the deception that Tibet is an inalienable part of China or that Tibetans and their culture are thriving under the tender mercies of the Chinese authorities.

Image:print-screen from NYT online article 11/8/16

Take the November 8 2016 NYT piece from  Mr Edward Wong, its bold headline; that element of a newspaper story most often consumed and remembered, suggesting that Tibetan Buddhism is flourishing. The article features a number of glossy images showing seemingly contented Tibetan monks and nuns, a gleaming Buddhist monastery and views of an expansive community. What more proof is needed that Tibetans are enjoying their Buddhist traditions, after all seeing-is-believing, right? Well so the propagandists of China’s regime would insist, and after all they have a long record of peddling such imagery. Smiling and prosperous Tibetans may be found all over Chinese websites and news agencies such as the regime’s official mouthpiece, Xinhua.

The reality of course, as well documented and reported by less gullible media agencies is that Tibetan Buddhism is being virtually exterminated, its monasteries placed under paramilitary control, regular indoctrination programs, charmingly concealed as ‘Patriotic Education’ are forced upon Buddhist Tibetans. Even the ancient tradition of reincarnate Buddhist teachers has been placed under the control and approval of the Chinese State! Meanwhile across Tibet as this post is being written Tibetan monks and nuns are suffering unimaginable misery in forced labor camps, or tortured in one of the innumerable prisons and torture centers. Such vicious oppression and the assault upon the Buddhist culture of Tibet is a matter of record and has attracted the concern of leading human rights organizations, the United Nations and governments.

Another Tibetan monastery placed under military siege by China's regime
Another Tibetan monastery placed under military siege by China’s regime

Image:archivenet

Now Edward Wong (who presumably ironically, describes himself on Twitter as ‘comrade’) and the New York Times will be very aware of this harrowing truth, yet have chosen to promote a distortion that no doubt meets the approval of the Chinese regime. Taking a closer look at the wording used we can see the fingerprints of China’s propagandists all over this piece. See for example how Comrade Wong references the recent widely reported destruction of Larung Gar. Another Buddhist center, that was recently bulldozed into oblivion with monks and nuns forced weeping onto convoys of coaches, under the merciless eyes of machine-gun carrying paramilitary:

“The largest, Larung Gar, in a valley to the northeast, has more monks than nuns. Workers there are now demolishing individual homes, on the orders of Chinese officials. Some clergy members are being forced to leave.” (Emphasis Added)

What a masterclass in  dilution that comment is, the grim reality of what actually happened and the extent of oppression and destruction diminished under the cover of supposedly neutral reportage. Indeed, anyone reading those words could be forgiven for concluding that regular demolition workers are pulling down a few houses and that a handful of Tibetans have been forced to relocate.The facts though are very different, in magnitude, suffering and oppression, as hinted at in the image below.

Just one area of Chinese ordered destruction at Larung Gar. a major center of Tibetan Buddhist study.
Just one area of Chinese ordered destruction at Larung Gar. a major center of Tibetan Buddhist study.

Further indications of just how slanted this article is appears in its headline, the deliberate and carefully applied use of the term ‘Tibetan Plateau’. A geographic, nonaligned description greatly favored by the Chinese authorities, as it avoids entirely any political association regarding Tibet, or the implied questions of its actual status.

What may we justly question is the objective of this particular NYT article? Whose interests are being most served? Is it a fair and balanced appraisal of the condition of Tibetan Buddhism under Chinese rule? Or are we witnessing a leading media publisher serving as a conduit for China’s propaganda distortions on the subject of Tibet?

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‘Serf Emancipation’-Delusion, Deception & Duplicity From China’s Regime

Open Communication to
Xinhua News Agency
The People’s Daily

China’s Ministry Of Disinformation, of which your ‘news’ agencies are prime components, actively peddles a cynical and fact-free comparison between the abolition of slavery in the United States and the so-called liberation of Tibetans. From what’s claimed by the Chinese Regime (absent of independent and conclusive evidence) was a condition of supposed serfdom. That term however is history-specific, correctly applied to a Euro-centered cultural and socio-political condition. The parallel claimed by China’s propagandists therefore is clearly based not on academic rigor or convention but founded upon ideological agenda.

Image: archivenet

There are however some features of United States history and the invasion and occupation of Tibet which are shared, although both The People’s Daily and Xinhua choose to evade those, so let’s take a brief look at the major points of similarity.

From the late 15th Century onward Europeans invaded the continents now known as the Americas, their arrival and intensive colonization was to have a devastating impact upon the native peoples. Many died having been exposed to newly imported diseases not previously experienced. The expansionism and theft of lands was to reduce First Nation tribes to a condition of slavery, facing cultural genocide from hostile and greed-driven European colonizers. A way of life which had existed for thousands of years now found itself being eradicated. Tribal communities forced from their lands, driven at the point-of-a-gun into ‘reservations’. While their children were forcibly exiled, taken away for Christian indoctrination, at schools whose aim was assassinate any sense of cultural identity. Does that sound familiar to you? It should do! As Tibetan nomads now endure a similar fate. Their traditional culture targeted for what masquerades as ‘modernization’ but in truth is simply a resource exploiting land-grab. Combined with a strategy to marginalize and control a population considered less than equal. Racism too is a shared feature, endemic among all forms of imperialist expansionism.

Image: archivenet

Another key factor of similarity is that like Tibet, the lands of North America were invaded by a foreign culture, the colonizers spoke a completely different language. Came from a cultural background very alien indeed and possessed a history and ideology not shared by native peoples. The Chinese army which launched an invasion of Tibet in 1950, and the flood of Han colonizers that were to occupy Tibetan lands (like those European ‘settlers’) were in a strange land. Removed entirely from understanding or indeed respecting the cultural distinctiveness and identity of the people whose lands and culture they now controlled. Now before you reach for the propaganda button and cite bogus claims that historically Tibet has been part of China, so therefore the invasion was a legitimate action, such assertions are themselves fabrications:

1) The recorded claim that Wencheng, a  Chinese Princess married the 7th Century Tibetan king Songsten Gambo is one of the devices used by your political masters 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 spurious reasoning is of course a nonsense. To better understand just how ridiculous China’s claim is 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!

Image: archivenet

2). The so-called Yuan Dynasty during which China’s regime insists Tibet was part of China was in fact a time (12th Century) when China proper was controlled, occupied and ruled by the Mongolians, who while extending influence over, never conquered Tibet. Despite your historians trying to conceal the historical fact that China was part of the Mongolian Empire, and dominated by non-Han rulers. By naming it as the ‘Yuan (new) Dynasty’ truth is that on the reasoning of conquest and political power it is Mongolians who can more legitimately claim that Tibet belongs to Mongolia!

3) 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 Central Asian and not Chinese intervened in Tibetan affairs, most particularly relating to Buddhism, and established what China’s regime claims was  suzerainty over Tibet. Well a few important considerations here, firstly the Dynasty in question was not Chinese but Manchurian, a people who had more in common with Tibetans than the Han culture. 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.

Image: archivenet

Having exposed those duplicitous and baseless claims any attempt by the Chinese Regime to legitimize its occupation of Tibet on historical basis is shown to be a deception based upon a distortion of history. Which returns us  to the main topic of our response to the propaganda being spewed by Xinhua and The China Daily celebrating China’s supposed reforms of 1959 that  ‘liberated of Tibetans from serfdom’. The end of slavery in the United States in no way mirrors what was an act of military aggression by China against Tibet, however what valid parallels there are make very uncomfortable reading for China’s regime and its propaganda mouthpieces. Here they are:

1). Europeans and some African parties exploited and profited from a slave trade that was to provide forced labor for the United States prior to the final ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in December 18, 1865. That condition of servitude and misery was inflicted upon a forcibly displaced people by foreign colonizers (European and later United States citizens) in a land who native peoples had been violently denied their lands, freedoms and culture.

2). Tibetans prior to 1950 enjoyed a Buddhist culture and lived in a land with its own system of government, that enjoyed a number of treaty relations with neighboring states, had a distinct and identifiable cultural and national identity and possessed de jure independence. It was like any other culture not without imperfection or injustice but compared to the genocidal scale of suffering, human rights abuse and loss of life engineered by China’s communist regime it was at the very least a more humane and moderate society, with it’s majority nomadic population enjoying genuine freedom. The Chinese army which invaded in 1950 set in motion decades of misery and tyranny which has transformed Tibet into the world’s largest open-air prison.

Image: archivenet

Under the guise of ‘modernization’ China’s policy on Tibet is about expansionism, assimilation and control. Like those Europeans who landed upon the shores of North America its colonizers are there not to ‘liberate’ or support the culture of Tibet but to exploit Tibetan natural resources, marginalize its people, operate an apparatus of apartheid in which Tibetans are marginalized, oppressed and discriminated against. That process is relentless and  just as the First Nations of The Great Plains witnessed their lands stolen and found themselves surviving a wretched existence in a reservation so Tibetans are being forced into what are effectively concentration camps. Denied their nomadic traditional lifestyle. No amount of propaganda can conceal such realities, nor obscure the facts of history and despite the economic progress and posed photographs of smiling and compliant Tibetans you present, neither The Tibetan people nor an informed global community is deceived. It’s not emancipation but oppression, surveillance and slavery that exists inside Tibet!

Demonstrations, Miscellaneous, Tibet

Save The Tibetan Blue Poppy!

Tibetan Blue Poppy
Tibetan Blue Poppy

Image:wiki

For untold millenia Tibetans had observed and enjoyed  the beauty of a flower native to Tibet, which they called Utpal Ngonpo (ཨུཏྤལ་སྔོན་པོ༑). This blue bloom was most likely unknown to the Occidental world until the arrival of European colonization of India and the resultant ‘Great Game’ played out on the high lands of Central Asia, which sparked the British invasion of Tibet in 1904. Along with military and strategic interests the region had increasingly exerted a fascinating influence over the European mind, a land it was considered of magic and mystery. Little wonder then that it attracted adventurers, naturalists, explorers, botanists and explorers alike. Some of those pioneering visitors to Tibet combined a number of such interests and more besides, none more so than Lt. Colonel Frederick Marshman Bailey (Born February 3 February 1882, Lahore, India)  who apart from interests in photography, butterfly collecting and trophy hunting, was a British spy actively engaged in the struggle between Russia and Britain for dominance in the Himalayas.

Frederick Bailey
Frederick Bailey

Image:wiki

Bailey had become fluent in Tibetan and was appointed as Political Officer for Sikkim and Tibet between 1921-28. However he is probably better known for a discovery made during an unauthorized expedition which took him into the area of the Yarlong gorge inside Tibet. In 1911-12 he had traveled along the Yarlung Tsangpo river accompanied by a Captain Henry Morshead of the Survey of India  On reaching the Rong Chu valley, on the upper reaches of that river Bailey in a forested valley chanced upon a tall blue poppy. The floral secret of Tibet was pressed into his notebook and eventually reached London where the botanical world gave it the name Meconopsis baileyi.

This undercover agent however was not the first European to have encountered Tibet’s blue poppies, that honor belongs to a French botanist Père Jean Marie Delavay who in 1886 noted them in the alpine forests within Tibet’s Kham region, (the mountainous and forested South-Eastern sector of this Tibetan territory was forcibly annexed into Yunnan Province following China’s invasion and occupation of Tibet) to be confused by later writers as part of Yunan in China. These he dispatched to the Museum of Natural History in Paris where the Director named it Meconopsis betonici folia.

Frank Kingdon Ward
Frank Kingdon Ward

Image:taken from ‘Pilgrimage For Plants’

However the ready availability in our local garden stores of the Tibetan Blue Poppy is due in the main to the efforts of Frank Kingdon Ward an English botanist who during Spring of 1924 was exploring the same regions, visited by Bailey, of the Tsangpo River in South Eastern Tibet when he first saw and collected Meconopsis baileyi (as it was at that time called). Unfortunately the specimens proved difficult to cultivate and showed no sign of self-seeding, a disappointment that drove Kingdon Ward later that year to return  to the banks of Tibet’s Tsangpo River where he harvested seeds of the plant, on arrival in England a year later they were shared among fifty expert gardeners with a successful germination and in 1926 the first cultivated plants made an appearance at the Royal Horticultural Society’s spring show in London.He became rightly famous for introducing the Blue Poppy to garden cultivation, but what common and memorable name now to call this beauty?

Tibetan Habitat Of The Blue Poppy
Tibetan Habitat Of The Blue Poppy

Image:archivenet

Clearly the home and habitat of this flower belonged to Tibet and it would be reasonable to have imagined it to be described as the Tibetan Blue Poppy, some writers at the time did, others however chose to term it the Himalayan Blue Poppy. Was this a reflection of the times, a fascination, given wide circulation and enhanced popularity by the novel ‘Lost Horizon’ set in the snow mountains of a mythical Shangri-la kingdom? Perhaps, or maybe the botanical establishment took a lead from their colleagues at the British Foreign Office, who refused to acknowledge Tibet as a distinct nation and chose to see it as being a land under Chinese ‘suzerainty’, naming it after a mountain range is of course a far less politically contentious option! Whatever the reasons, the term took root and it is still widely known and sold as such today, although many know and describe the plant as the Tibetan Blue Poppy.

Map adapted by @tibettruth from original by Tibetan Soul

That however seems to be changing with news that a leading British seed supplier called ‘Suttons Seeds‘ which sells ‘Himalayan Blue Seeds’ is now promoting in its catalog a Meconopsis plant it’s renamed as  ‘China Blue’ See HERE 

Image: print-screen from http://www.suttons.co.uk

It’s very disappointing that this highly respected company, which is appointed to the UK Monarchy, is not respecting the origins, location and habitat of this beautiful flower of Tibet and risking misleading its customers and the wider public into wrongly regarding the plant as being from China. As our Twitter colleagues @tibettruth have justly asked, what would Prince Charles, having an interest in Tibet and  a close friend of the Dalai Lama  say if he was made aware that company granted a royal appointment is misrepresenting this Tibetan beauty?

Image: wikinut

We hope that Suttons Seeds will reconsider it’s current branding of this plant and return to describing it more correctly as the Tibetan Blue Poppy,or at the very least ‘Himalayan Blue’ so much of Tibet and its culture is being eroded and lost due to China’s violent and illegal occupation of that land, it would be a poignant loss indeed if gardeners were forced through such insensitive marketing to ask for a ‘China Blue‘ poppy. Thankfully we are dealing with a company of integrity that no doubt places high value on tradition, so there’s every chance that it will be willing to positively respond to the concerns on this issue. If you wish to add your voice in support of the #tibetanbluepoppy the flower of Tibet then you may contact Suttons Seeds via:

Online: http://www.suttons.co.uk/ContactUs.aspx

Twitter: @suttons_seeds

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SuttonsFanPage

Demonstrations, News Item, Tibet

Tibet’s Resistance Burns On As Today Another Tibetan Self-Immolates

Today in Amdo Region of Eastern Tibet another Tibetan self-immolated to protest against China’s illegal and vicious occupation of Tibet, to demand Tibetan independence and express support for the Dalai Lama. Mr. Tamdrin Dorjee, aged around 50 was from Khasok Lhungwarma town close to Tsoe City, Kanlho. More details are available here Report

Image: via thuptenwangyal

Following the protest Chinese paramilitary forces moved in to surround the monastery, near which Tamdrin offered his life.

Thanks to Dossier Tibet & Thupten Wangyal

Demonstrations, News Item, Tibet

Breaking: Further-Self-Immolation Today In Tibet

Image: courtesy of @tibettruth

Image: via dossiertibet

Around 12 PM Tibetan time another Tibetan self-immolated today in protest at China’s illegal and vicious occupation of Tibet, the man, named as Sangay Gyatso, committed his fiery sacrifice in the Tsoe region of Kanlho, Amdo Eastern Tibet. More details here

Grateful appreciation to Dossier Tibet for the bulletin

Appeasing China, News Item, Tibet

Special Meeting Vows To Continue With Failed Policy That Betrays Tibetan Struggle

Image:newstimes

As predicted in the previous post the ‘Special Meeting Of Tibetans’, convened recently by the body formerly known as the Exiled Tibetan Government, in Dharamsala, Northern India revealed itself as little more than a public exercise to endorse the long failed strategy of appeasement towards China’s Regime. In essence this seeks so-called meaningful autonomy, with Tibetans left under the tender mercies of China’s national and regional laws, in effect it would see Tibetans submitting to China’s claims that Tibet is part of China, and its people just another Chinese national minority. Anyone who has doubts on this should make a big pot of coffee and devote an hour to read carefully the Memorandum On Meaningful Autonomy For Tibetans a document which surrenders Tibet’s nationhood and is the suicidal basis of Tibetan negotiations with China’s authorities.

Yet, within the 31 recommendations agreed by the meeting was, naturally, a resounding approval to continue with a policy, which the Dalai Lama himself conceded has proved a singular failure

“The meeting resolved to pursue the Middle-Way policy to find a meaningful solution through dialogue with the Chinese government as per the past resolutions adopted by the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile and wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.” Source

Once again the struggle of Tibetans in occupied Tibet, who so bravely resist China’s tyranny to demand their nation’s independence, has been entirely ignored and marginalized by a cabal which draping itself in Tibet’s national flag, in truth has exchanged courage and determination with compromise and capitulation.