The Dalai Lama recently met with U.S. President Obama and news of it made headlines both in China and in the West. I want to first address this point made by some that China shouldn’t make a big deal out of this meeting, because after all, China recently met with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and the U.S. made no objections. That is a faulty comparison, because the Dalai Lama is likely visiting the U.S. to secure his annual funding for the TGIE, and in contrast, al-Bashir is not trying to split off any portion of the U.S..
NPR distributed a report by The Associated Press (doesn’t matter who did the headline), “Dalai Lama Wanted ‘To Show An Old Friend’s Face’.” The article is short, and I mainly want to point out the gaps in it so you can easily see for yourself by omission, how propagandistic an article can be. If you see more articles like this in the West, think about the information and perspectives purposefully left out. Personally, I don’t expect the media to do better, but I object to this self-proclaimed view they are ‘free’ and ‘objective.’
“Dalai Lama Wanted ‘To Show An Old Friend’s Face’”
by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON July 18, 2011, 10:29 am ET
The Dalai Lama is defending his weekend visit with President Barack Obama, saying he was gratified “to show an old friend’s face.”
According to this China Daily report, the Dalai Lama “got funding of $2 million from the US State Department and claimed he will ‘make trouble for China’, the paper (a People’s Daily editorial) said.”
If there is any real journalistic integrity, then both NPR and the Associated Press ought to report on how much the Dalai Lama’s TGIE is getting money from the U.S. government on an annual basis. They ought to have questioned President Obama and the Dalai Lama whether they discussed this funding. Perhaps ‘gratified to have gotten the $2 million?’
Again, where is the American media interest in this funding? Americans would certainly care because of the deficit.
The Chinese government slammed the administration for the meeting Obama had with the Tibetan spiritual leader on Saturday, saying it would damage Chinese-American relations.
But in an interview broadcast Monday on NBC’s “Today” show, the Dalai Lama said he considered it his duty to meet with the president “to show my respect. We really have a feeling of reunion.”
China considers the Dalai Lama a separatist intent on ending Chinese rule over Tibet. Obama over the weekend reinforced with the Dalai Lama that the United States doesn’t support Tibetan independence.
“Chinese rule over Tibet” is in fact a very propagandistic narrative. Does it make sense to say “American rule over Massachusetts?” No, I don’t think so. The article narrates this way precisely to want to keep ‘China’ and ‘Tibet’ as mutually exclusive concepts. If the article wants to present a more “pro-China” view, it would say something like this: “China considers the Dalai Lama a separatist, but Obama over the weekend denied that is what the United States support.” Obviously it would not make sense for the Associated Press or NPR to take a ‘pro-China’ only narrative, and the point I am making is that they are simply taking a more ‘anti-China’ one.
Journalism with integrity requires writing the above in such a way that both positions are objectively presented to the reader.
He also urged Americans to not get discouraged by the protracted national debate over the country’s debt problems.
I actually think this is a good advice. America needs a honest debate on this issue. American media is in fact not being very helpful catering to sensationalist and extremist views. But I won’t digress further on that.
In the interview, the 76-year-old spiritual leader said he believes “a lot of resentment” is building within China toward the government. The Dalai Lama said he doesn’t think China can buck a trend toward democracy around the world, saying the “whole world turning in one direction.”
“China cannot go against that trend,” he said, adding he believes the “voice of openness” is sweeping over China.
Some will accuse me of reading too much into this, but every chance the Dalai Lama gets, he will bash the Chinese government politically. The narrative here is to portray the Dalai Lama as a ‘good’ spiritual leader, and due to his ‘holiness’, the criticism supposedly carries weight with the Western audience.
There are few glaring facts this article failed to point out. What an irony too, because right before the above passage, the Dalai Lama gave an advice about the American debt. Isn’t it the case that ‘democracies’ are incompetent in reigning in government spending? China’s government approval rating is in fact way high compared to all the ‘democracies’ in polls after polls by the PEW Research Center.
When Japan was ‘democratic’ in the 80s, the garbage the Western media hurl at them were not much different than at China today. How do you explain all this, Mr. Dalai Lama?
Perhaps the Dalai Lama should be focused more on growing spirituality in America today or preach tolerance for other religions. It’s kind of weird this article don’t realize the hypocrisy in this man having officially ‘retired from politics’ just few months ago. And here we are, he’s politics all over – ‘democracy,’ ‘censorship,’ and all.
The Dalai Lama also said he “really felt some sense of relief” over Tibet’s recent move toward abandonment of its 4-century-old monarchial tradition.
This narrative is again wrong. It is implying a bunch of exiles still represent the millions of ethnic Tibetans in China with 60 years having passed.
I have read the Tibetan sect in India who worships Dorje Shugden is still being persecuted by his TGIE.
Some will be eager to say, this article is meant to report what the Dalai Lama says. My response would be, “funny, the Associated Press is now a mouthpiece for the Dalai Lama?” 😉
But, seriously, find me the “Chinese” perspectives articulated in any other mainstream Western media without the emotive slanders on this visit.