As temperatures drop across occupied Tibet with the onset of Winter Tibetan hearts are no doubt warmed by the opportunity to read the constitution of their Chinese regime oppressors. Teams of propagandists have been active again on the streets of Lhasa pushing the extremist ideology of China’s communist party. Of course the only rights it defends are those that maintain the power and position of Xi Jinping and his political sycophants, the individual is entirely subservient to the dictates of the state. There is compliance or prison, a reality Tibetans have suffered since their land was invaded and placed under military occupation in 1950.
As November 25th has been designated the International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women our sense of solidarity towards this event and the objectives it champions is tainted by a troubling reality.
The very United Nations agencies behind this event, UN Women and UN Commission on the Status of Women are the same organizations which have knowingly and consistently ignored China’s program of forced sterilizations against women. Along with the wider women’s ‘movement’ and prominent NGOs, supposedly dedicated to women’s rights, they pose themselves as defenders of such freedoms and human rights across social media. Yet have cynically refused to condemn or oppose a range of violations inflicted by the Chinese regime.
These include:a policy of forcing Uyghur women into marriages with Han Chinese colonizers of occupied East Turkistan (so-called Xinjiang). Coercing Uyghur women to accept Chinese officials cohabiting their homes and sleeping with them, in essence rape! Detaining thousands of Uyghur women in forced labor and indoctrination camps where they face emotional, physical and psychological abuse. The placement of Uyghur girls,many infants into detention centers where they are denied access to their parents and forced and brainwashed to adopt Chinese language and cultural identity. A program of forced sterilizations which targets Uyghur, Tibetan, Manchurian, Mongolian and Han Chinese women.
This harrowing catalogue of violations does not trouble those who would have you accept them as being defenders of women’s rights, it’s not ignorance of these disturbing abuses which explains their collective silence. The reason is one of political correctness, selective values and agenda that refuse to stand against such atrocities, this is a singular example of silence is complicity. The hypocrisy and denial such organizations present on these issues is breathtaking and questions entirely their credibility and ethical standing.
Anyone within the Central Tibetan Administration (formerly the exiled Government of Tibet now CTA) care to explain why on earth the editorial team of their website has featured a promotional review of a film which, while posing as an artful exploration of lives and communities transformed through economic and infrastructure developments, is essentially propaganda.
Last time we checked the CTA (headed by Doctor Lobsang Sangay) was, apart from peddling an appeasement deal-of- surrender to China, engaged in exposing and opposing the suppression of Tibet and erosion of Tibetan culture. It regularly issues statements and reports on the expansionist agenda of China, cautions the international community on the corrosive influence of Chinese corporations and regularly criticizes projects, that have exploited and massively degraded the environment of occupied Tibet. From concerns about Huawei to open hostility towards mining companies which are opening up Tibetan mountains the CTA has a respected and established record of challenging and reporting upon the genuine concerns posed by China’s political, economic and corporate objectives.
With that in mind the decision of its website to give such full-page prominence to ‘Common Destiny’ (a film receiving the approval and support of China’s regime) and heavily promoted by the propaganda mouth-piece Xinhua during it’s screening at the Venice Film Festival in September, is all the more baffling.
But this ‘documentary’ was never going to consider such contexts, the crippling debts, failed infrastructure projects or the political and economic dominance imposed upon those partnering governments by China’s regime. No inclusion or reference to the environmental impacts of such developments. Those major issues had no place in this carefully engineered propaganda, the audience is engaged with the various personal narratives, distracted by the emotion, struggle and relative triumphs. A strategy which no doubt was factored into the film from its beginnings and obediently employed by six other (Chinese) directors all of whom were approved by China’s government! The production company behind this exercise in disinformation was none other than Beijing Silk Road Media Group, a public-relations arm of the project and by extension fully committed to the ideology and dictates of China’s regime. Interestingly its producer Liang Yan claimed at the screening that the film is not backed by government, anyone buying into that should seek reality counseling immediately!
There is no genuinely independent film-making within China especially when the subject is a cornerstone of the Chinese regime’s global economic policy. As such there would have been a very close scrutiny of its production. content and promotion, what has been produced is yet another slick, emotion focused distraction that promotes the supposed triumphs of the Belt Road Strategy. It also features key propaganda themes exemplified by the account of a Uyghur boy dreaming of winning a basketball scholarship. Touching story, right? But wait a minute while young Yusuf Jiang (note the Chinese second name) is aspiring to realize such ambitions Uyghur children of all ages are being torn from their families and detained within indoctrination centers to be brainwashed into obedient Chinese speaking citizens. Did that well-documented reality not trouble Martin Campbell or Guy Hibbert? Would not their creative talents not be better served by making a documentary on the cultural genocide waged against Tibet or the Uyghur homeland of East Turkistan?
What also of the Central Tibetan Administration and its promotion of this Chinese orchestrated disinformation? Was it some gross error of editorial judgement that decided to feature this film on their site? A calculated decision to curry favor with China, a signal of further appeasement? No matter the reasons, giving publicity to such propaganda while the same regime behind the film is waging a genocidal assault against Tibet’s culture and national identity raises worrying questions. Particularly for any Tibetan who expects their exiled Administration to be championing the just cause of national freedom rather than uncritically disseminating the lies and disinformation of China’s government!
In 2015 the mountainous land of Nepal, which borders occupied Tibet was hit by a massive earthquake. There was much loss-of-life and destruction. Yet the natural disaster which struck resulted in tremendous courage, and sacrifice as people banded together to rescue survivors, bring relief and hope.
A little reported component of such humanitarian efforts was the contribution made by the Tibetan refugee community within Nepal, who despite their marginalized and impoverished status demonstrated an inspiring sense of compassion and generosity. Tibetan monks and nuns organized food supplies, offered transport to medical centers, formed human chains removing rubble and provided shelter and comfort. Donations were raised from the wider Tibetan Diaspora and made to the Nepalese authorities.
Despite such a compassionate response there was no statement of thanks from Nepal’s government, it was as if the Tibetans were invisible to them. The reason for that callous indifference is that the corrupted Nepali authority is an active collaborator of China’s regime and for its appeasement receives considerable funding.
This has resulted to a policy of oppression against local Tibetans who live under constant fear, denied freedom-of-assembly or any expression of dissent. While those Tibetans who manage to escape from occupied Tibet find their desperate appeals for sanctuary denied by the Nepalese border force. They are detained, chained and handed over to the Chinese authorities to face torture, forced labor and years of misery.
On Sunday October 13, during a visit to Nepal China’s Xi Jinping met with Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli. During which the Chinese dictator announced that: “Anyone attempting to split China will be crushed and any external force backing such attempts will be deemed by the Chinese people as pipe-dreaming,”. His remarks reflect ongoing pressure from the Chinese regime upon Nepal to intensify their oppressive measures against local Tibetans. Responding Mr. Oli said his country will never allow any force to use its territory for separatist (sic) activities against China.
Clearly Nepal’s government has a very short memory and values its lucrative relations with the blood-stained Chinese regime above the contributions, culture and rights of its Tibetan refugees.
Reports from occupied Tibet this week reveal the ongoing assault against Tibetan culture, a number of images showing Tibetan infants being militarized at a local propaganda event aimed at glorifying the Chinese regime’s military. These are of course the very same forces which violently oppress the Tibetan people, in a drive to indoctrinate Tibet’s children they are also deployed as brainwashing units. Holding up China’s occupying army as heroes and ‘protectors of the people’.
Meanwhile in Lhasa on May 15 Chinese surveillance personnel and propagandists were pumping out the latest edicts from the Chinese regime as part of the relentless psyop against Tibetans.
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.
It’s easy for folk to have an impression of China as a modernized, economically booming country. After all that’s been the narrative pushed by mainstream media since the 1980s and China’s restructuring of its domestic economy. It became a market-orientated economy, awarded by the USA Most Favored Nation status (from which human rights were eventually decoupled on the dubious assertion that unfettered economic engagement would lead to political democratization). Allowed entry to the World Trade Organization in 2001 the Chinese economy has gone on to become a dominant global force. The reportage of this transformation has become something of a cliché and become firmly placed in popular perception of China.
What’s been less reported is that this economic metamorphosis has enabled massive investments into China’s military occupation of Tibet and other occupied territories such as East Turkistan and Southern Mongolia. Nor has the mainstream media devoted any meaningful coverage to a parallel increase in the concentration of political power within the Chinese Communist Party. Indeed some would say that China’s embrace of capitalism and free trade was in part designed to maintain and strengthen the position of the regime. This has resulted in even greater repression, censorship and human rights concerns, which have been largely ignored and tolerated by other countries. Meanwhile China’s President Xi Jinping has consolidated to himself supreme political control, with the mass applause of the ‘National People’s Congress’.
Throughout the years China’s communist authorities have used fear and corruption to ensure control and that process has intensified, especially for the peoples of occupied Tibet and East Turkistan.
In the past few days so-called Tibet Television has been broadcasting a series targeting ‘anti-corruption’ and the ‘regulation’ of communist party members. Coded language for another propaganda drive to suppress any dissenting Tibetan voices within its administration. Another purge against Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama, as there’s no tolerance for any belief apart from the dictate of China’s communist party, as commentated upon in the Global Times (a conduit for China’s propaganda) by Xiong Kunxin, a lecturer at the so-called Tibet University in Lhasa:
‘The CPC remains an atheist organization. Thus, CPC members are banned from religious beliefs, because they can only believe in Marxism; believing in other religions means betrayal of their chosen belief and it will shake their belief in Marxism and separate them from the Party’.
China may well have opened the doors to global trade, it’s cities and manufacturing transformed by an economic revolution, but make no mistake at its political heart it remains a totalitarian state which murders, tortures and enslaves to retain power.