For anyone selfish or unthinking enough to take a vacation to Lhasa its likely they will join a tour to Sera Monastery just north of the Tibetan capital. There they can see monks enjoying Buddhist debate, marvel at the traditional architecture and absorb the peaceful environs at which Buddhism is flourishing.
Meanwhile behind that staged show of supposed cultural freedom a darker reality exists for Tibetans, although you would not come into contact with that during your tightly controlled and monitored time at Sera.
Image: Eric Baculinao
We wonder how such tourists would feel about their Tibet trip had they been in attendance at a March 13 meeting in Sera during which a panel of Tibetan collaborators (Lhakpa Tsering ‘Lhasa, Monastery Management Committee Director’, Tsetan Dorje, ‘Manager Sera monastery’ and Jampa Kelsang, ‘Media and Education Committee Director’ Sera Monastery) addressed some three hundred monks. Insisting that they should “… feel grateful to the Chinese government and show their loyalty to the nation by obeying the country’s laws,”.
Image: Tsering Woeser
Surrounded by Chinese paramilitary police, security officials and ‘management’ staff the monks were ordered to stand against what was described as ‘sepratism’. They were also warned of a series of prohibitions regarding online activity, including posting any information the regime considers sensitive.
Image: Tsering Woeser
The meeting concluded with an exultation ‘re-pay China’s generosity in Tibet and demonstrate loyalty to Beijing and love for the top leadership of China’s ruling Communist Party.’.
Sera monastery is in truth no longer a center for Buddhist learning, like monasteries across Tibet it is an indoctrination facility, placed under a suffocating control by the thought-police of the Chinese regime.
Image: Tsering Woeser
It also has another function, one that exploits the wonderment, gullibility and ignorance of those who travel to Lhasa for an exotic vacation. It’s calculated and tightly controlled illusion of a thriving Tibetan Buddhist culture is an important propaganda tool to manipulate and deceive.
When thinking about Tibet as it suffers under the oppressive grip of Chinese rule there’s a few key phrases to consider.
Image: Melong publication XXiii, 11, November 1956
The military strategy that seeks to destroy any assets or resources which might be of use to an enemy. These usually include water and food supplies, industrial centers, transport infrastructure, communications, and most chillingly people are also a target. Such objectives were central to the Chinese army when it invaded and occupied Tibet in 1950, and in the face of armed Tibetan resistance eventually realized.
Having secured complete control this policy was not concluded, instead its objectives were shifted to Tibetan culture, which was deemed by the Chinese regime to be backward and in need of what it termed ‘reform’. A euphemism for the cultural genocide which was inflicted upon the Tibetan people.
The Oxford English Dictionary, citing the use of the term in a 1946 New York Times report on the destroyed city of Hiroshima, defines ground zero as “that part of the ground situated immediately under an exploding bomb, especially an atomic one.” . The cost of Tibetan lives and decades of misery, starvation and persecution which followed the Chinese occupation of Tibet was as if a nuclear bomb had been dropped upon Tibet’s culture and freedom.
The reconstruction has been dictated by China’s regime, central to which has remained a merciless and brutal enforcement of dogma. Inflamed by the ideology of Marxism the Chinese tyranny saw its colonialism of Tibet as a progressive stage in the evolution from a supposed feudalism, of what it insisted was a stagnant culure. In Marxist language Tibetans were “relics of peoples” undeserving of national freedom, incapable of economic or political independence. Tibet was, under such ‘reasoning’, a valid target to be refashioned.
A new ‘social harmony’ was to be engineered. From the smouldering ruins of China’s brutal violence against Tibet would emerge a Tibetan population ‘liberated’ from a supposed ‘class exploitation’ and ‘local nationalism’. The methodology employed to assist Tibetans realize such a political consciousness included: forced labor camps, mass arrests, torture, destruction of Tibetan monasteries and a mass population transfer of Han Chinese into Tibet!
The poisonous cocktail of Marxist-Leninist doctrine with China’s traditional assimilationist ideology continues to terrorize the Tibetan people. Their culture having suffered the ravages of scorched earth and a nuclear-like assault is being redefined according to the political objective of China’s regime. Tibetan children are the experimental subjects, groomed into what is hoped will be a generation that knows only loyalty and gratitude towards the Chinese authorities.
Image: China’s Ministry Of Propaganda
To realize such a mindset Tibet’s past has been recreated, censored and sanitized in accord with the approved political ideology. Within that perversion of the facts China becomes a savior, arriving as the hero to bring freedom to sorely oppressed Tibetans, denied social and political development by a cruel and feudal elite. This meticulous propaganda is drip fed to Tibet’s children each day.
There is no Dalai Lama, no history other than the one fabricated by the Chinese regime. It’s a ‘new Tibet’ which is taught, with a doctrine that asserts before Tibet was ‘liberated’ existed only cruelty, exploitation and slavery. Now, thanks to the ‘enlightened’ policies of China’s government, Tibetans enjoy the modernity and progress of a socialist paradise. They are so the propaganda would have you believe, ‘masters of their own affairs’!
Such is the thought-control applied within indoctrination centers (schools and what monasteries are left) across occupied Tibet. China is assiduously destroying Tibet’s past, brutally controlling its present and attempting to possess its future!
From the get go here’s the deal….Tibet has been under a military lockdown since the Chinese army invaded and occupied the country in 1950. Since then the nature and intensity of oppression has gone through phases, but what has remained constant is the complete lack of cultural, religious and political freedom for Tibetans.
One particular trigger for changes to the tyranny imposed upon occupied Tibet occurs in March, when Tibetans recall the Lhasa Uprisings of 1959, 1989 and 2008. Despite assuring the world that Tibetans are content under Chinese rule, the authorities annually flood Tibet with additional paramilitary units. Armored-convoys and military check-points are increased, movement is restricted, and towns placed under siege. Proof that China’s regime is deeply fearful of the reality that Tibetans do not welcome China’s illegal occupation of Tibet.
Reports coming out of Tibet on March 6 have detailed an intensification of so-called ‘security’ measures in Lhasa, Tibetan pilgrims being subjected to interrogation and detention. Another account from Derge (སྡེ་དགེ ) a town in Kham region of eastern Tibet reports that Tibetans have been denied any freedom of movement, even between local settlements. The Chinese regime has ordered Tibetans there to remain at home on March 10 and also shut down access to the Chinese chat application ‘WeChat’.
Such measures reveal the cold truth that haunts the anxieties of the Chinese authorities. That its propaganda claims on Tibet are reduced to ashes by the fact that Tibetans do not wish to be under the control of China and seek freedom for their culture and nation.
Reports coming out of occupied Tibet that Tibetans are being forced to prostrate to images of Chinese dictator and his politburo thugs. Domestic Shrines to Tibetan Buddhist deities and images of the Dalai Lama are being torn sown, only the political leadership of China’s regime is worthy of adoration. Of course as you can see from the photo above Tibetans are so contented and happy to make obeisance to the enlightened, all compassionate Xi Jinping!
Looking at this image of Uyghurs imprisoned in a Chinese run concentration camp, one of our colleagues remarked, ‘The only thing missing is a yellow star stitched onto the uniform’. A reference to the emblem forced upon Jewish prisoners by the Nationalist Socialist Party. A controversial analogy for some, yet there’s no denying that the Muslim culture of occupied East Turkistan (so-called Xinjiang Region) is being systematically and violently dismantled. Mosques obliterated, Islamic traditions banned, Uyghur women forced into marriages with Han Chinese colonists. The Uyghur language marginalized as Chinese is forced upon school children.
Meanwhile human rights organizations and the United Nations have received accounts that Uyghurs have been rounded up and forced into what are effectively concentration camps. There they suffer a harsh regime of indoctrination and abuse that has the objective of generating obedience to the ideology of China’s communist party. A people are being violently denied their culture, which has been criminalized, racism and apartheid are driving forces in such tyranny. As they were of course for Nazi-Germany. Uyghur culture is now portrayed as the great enemy of ‘social stability’, regarded too as ‘less than’, dark resonances indeed from recent history.
China denied such camps existed, but only this week information came out acknowledging their existence, SOURCEwhile insisting it was all very legal!
Some insist such reports are fabricated, the product of US inspired propaganda, others defend the Chinese regime, while the haunted expressions stare out from behind the barbed wire! We’ve been here before!