Just as the earthquake shook China last month, the ground has also shifted under the Tibet issue. It seems the protests and counter-protests did not go into a black hole, but are having some effects on the media. But the exiles and their supporters aren’t ready to pass up on such a good chance in this Olympic year yet. They are elevating the profile of a different lama. Between now and the Olympics, we may also see more Tibetan disturbances should the talks not “work out”, as the Dalai Lama advised/threatened. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best. Inside are a few articles in the recent news on these two cross-currents, action and reaction:
China commits 70 million dollars to preserve Tibet culture: Press reports on positive development in Tibet for a change. Of course, this kind of policy and financial support for preservation has been going on for a long time.
China has agreed to commit 70 million dollars to an international fund for the preservation of culture in Tibet.
The Louise Blouin Foundation, a global non-profit group which is part of the agreement says, the money will be used to refurbish and preserve cultural relics and monasteries in the Tibet autonomous region.
Beijing has also agreed to allow Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile to participate and “provide oversight” in the cultural preservation projects.
Selling Tibet to the world: The Dalai Lama continues his marathon world-hopping, but world leaders begin to step back. Some are beginning to rethink the Tibet issue and consider alternatives. Did they watch the “Tibet was is …” and other Youtube videos?
GUCCI, iPod, Facebook, Tibet – these are among the world’s hot brands, for which brand integrity is everything. … Creative director and brand chief executive, the Dalai Lama, will visit Australia again next week. He will preside over a five-day Tibetan prayer instruction course in Sydney. A company has been set up to handle the visit – Dalai Lama in Australia Limited.
… But dark clouds threaten the Tibet brand. The Dalai Lama has just been in Britain where an appearance at Royal Albert Hall was marred by more than a thousand protestors, most of whom were supporters of Dorje Shugden, a controversial deity in the complex pantheon of Tibetan Buddhist deities.
… Shugden supporters … have been tailing the Dalai Lama recently, popping up wherever he does with placards labelling him a liar and a persecutor. It’s embarrassing for the Dalai Lama because these are his people.
… Pushing the Dalai Lama’s wheelbarrow is Australia’s right as an independent country. But given that China is Australia’s most important trading partner, Australia owes it to itself to fully understand exactly what is in that wheelbarrow before it pushes so hard. After all, prudent shoppers are always careful to separate the actual product from the brand and the buzz that surrounds it.
The World’s Next Top Lama: The Karmapa is obviously being groomed into the heir apparent role on his first visit to the US in May. It was timed to squeeze into the pre-Olympics schedule and was to be with great fanfare, only to have been overshadowed by the Sichuan earthquake news. Not to worry, David van Biema of Time spills ink to tell us what he thinks to be the most important thing about this lama: he loves America.
To the apparent astonishment and delight of his American retinue, the baby-faced 22-year-old who may one day replace the Dalai Lama as the world symbol of Tibetan Buddhism and icon of Tibetan aspirations said today, on his first trip here, that he hoped he might be able to spend two months a year in the United States, raising the possibility that in decades to come, America could become an important focus for that community.
Ogyen Trinley Dorje: the Next Dalai Lama?: Merely two weeks later, David van Biema writes again in Time on exactly the same thing (twice in a month… is he paid to do this?), this time letting us know that America has vetted this lama and approves.
The Lowdown on the new arrival had been that he was brilliant but austere. “He’s not jolly like the Dalai Lama,” warned an American devotee. “He’s a bit stiff.” But the baby-faced 22-year-old who may be Tibet’s next great hope seemed perfectly relaxed in his room at New York City’s Waldorf Towers hotel, none the worse for his first intercontinental flight. Encountering a laptop-bearing reporter, Ogyen Trinley Dorje inquired eagerly about the computer; like his mentor, he’s apparently a Mac fan. Asked if he’d managed to sleep on the plane, he replied, “Sleep, but not well. Lot of …” Then, his maroon robe dancing, the 17th reincarnated head of Tibetan Buddhism’s Kagyu sect offered an enthusiastic mime of a bumpy transoceanic flight.