What comes to your mind when you look at the population distribution map above? Different people see different things even if it is the same picture or skewed statistic. In case you are new, the standard narrative of mainstream western press is that China invaded Tibet in 1959, and has been committing genocide on the Tibetan people since then. If you have doubt do a search on mainstream website like ABC, CNN, BBC etc, you would have a single version of the story. Continue reading Another Tibet Article→
(It’s worth noting that Gady Epstein of The Economist calls this video, “remarkable propaganda document.” If you think about it, that’s a wholesale rejection of the Chinese point of view. This is politics. But, then, don’t forget that The Economist and other Western media self-proclaim to be “free.” According to their definition, Western journalism is supposed to be about presenting differing perspectives. That’s rubbish. As regular readers of Hidden Harmonies know, Western media is every bit about propaganda as much as anything else.)
The world seems to be on pause while everyone’s attention have been put on the Olympics. Shortly before the Olympics, Stephen Prothero, a religion scholar from Boston University wrote in CNN’s blog that the Dalai Lama should condemn the immolations:
What is the worst thing you could say or write about someone? Maybe alleging that they are a murderer. Perhaps it is labeling them a child molester. Both these accusations, when used without factual merit, constitute serious slander or libel. But what is the worst thing you could say about a group of people, a nation or ethnic group?
During the Middle Ages in Europe, Blood Libel was used to devastating effect towards harming and justifying the persecution of Jews.
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.. Continue reading Propaganda? NPR reports, “Dalai Lama Wanted ‘To Show An Old Friend’s Face’”→
My 2008 public debate with a US trained Tibetan Lawyer (with some other folks interjecting), archived on ABA China Law Committee Listserver:
This began over the ABA China Law Committee’s email listserver in 2008 around the time of the Tibet riots. Several US attorneys started asking questions about Tibet and the riot. The Tibetan-American lawyer began with his definition of “sovereignty” as applied to Tibet, and I responded. And it sparked off a rather heated debate (I personally remained very civil, some of the middle parts were not my statements, but rather from a few other Chinese and American commentators/lawyers).
A big part of the visit will be Dalai Lama’s participating in the symposium “Buddhism and Neuroscience: A Discussion on Attention, Mental Flexibility and Compassion,” with faculty and staff from UCLA’s Semel Institute.
Both UCLA and Harvard are my alma mater, and I have the highest respect for both. But it is one thing for UCLA or Harvard to sponsor a controversial figure like the Dalai Lama, but quite another to sponsor controversial figures in the name of science. Thus, if UCLA or Harvard were to sponsor Osma bin Laden – or even go back in time to sponsor Hitler, I’d be fine. It’s part of the process of pushing the boundary, if you will. But doing this dubiously in the name of science – this shocks my conscience.
Why cannot UCLA have picked Joe Shmoe, my neighbor, as the face of the symposium? Do not the characteristics of attention, mental flexibility and compassion not exist in all of us? Why does it have to be the Dalai Lama and why with such fanfare? Is this symposium about science or politics?
This symposium has gotten me thinking: is UCLA still a venerable institution of education and science, or has religion, politics, and cult personality bankrupted it? Should I be ashamed to be a UCLA Bruin? Is it time for me to sever all my financial ties with the institution, diverting my annual contributions to better causes elsewhere?
There is a lot going on in the world. A natural disaster in Japan. Ravages of war from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestinian territories, to now Libya. The world is still in a recession. There is global warming. And population is still set to reach 9 billion by 2045.
Still I think there is still time for some comic relief. Obama made his NCAA picks last week. And the Dalai Lama recently announced (as brought up recently in the Open Thread) that he is retiring from politics.
President Obama and the Dalai Lama met yesterday at the White House. The White House issued this statement
The President met this morning at the White House with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama. The President stated his strong support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights for Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China. The President commended the Dalai Lama’s “Middle Way” approach, his commitment to nonviolence and his pursuit of dialogue with the Chinese government. The President stressed that he has consistently encouraged both sides to engage in direct dialogue to resolve differences and was pleased to hear about the recent resumption of talks. The President and the Dalai Lama agreed on the importance of a positive and cooperative relationship between the United States and China. Continue reading Thoughts on the Dalai Lama’s White House Visit→
Dalai Lama is set to visit Taiwan next week. The Dalai Lama has been invited a group of local DPP officials representing several southern counties – where DPP support is especially strong.
The Dalai Lama has visited Taiwan twice, once in 1997 and 2001. However, soon after Ma took office on a platform promising to amend ties with the Mainland, a request for the Dalai Lama to visit was turned down by Ma, citing the timing as not proper. A Dalai Lama visit then could have derailed Ma’s plan for closer ties with the Mainland – and still has the potential to do so the same. Continue reading Opinion:On Dalai Lama’s Upcoming Visit to Taiwan→
I am very worried. Many Chinese citizens have armed themselves, and they are ready to shoot. It is a very tense situation. At any moment there could be an explosion of violence.
I suppose Dalai Lama was referring specifically to Han and Hui Chinese citizens, who were on the receiving end of indiscriminate violences by Tibetan mobs freedom fighters a year ago. Leaving aside the plausibility question of Chinese citizens stocking up guns in China, I wonder why they would feel the need to arm themselves nowadays?
On January 19, 2009, Tibetan legislators endorsed unanimously a bill designating March 28 as Serfs Emancipation Day, a day designated officially to mark the freeing of 1 million serfs from serfdom 50 years ago.
For many ethnic Tibetans, this day represents a celebration of freedom (from cast and class based oppression), economic empowerment, and social and political liberation that has been a long time coming. The day has been held hostage for so long partly because the government, in hopes of trying to convince the Dalai Lama to return back to China, had not wanted to mark the occasion while the Dalai Lama was still in exile. But one cannot hold back a celebration of freedom forever, and fifty years has been a long time… Continue reading Opinion: Dear Mr. Dalai Lama … please tear down this wall!→
In a recent letter, I wondered aloud if it might be possible for the Dalai Lama to retire from politics and return to Tibet as a private, nonpolitical citizen. Is it possible that the goodwill created by such a move could prove more productive in the long-run than political negotiations would?
In recent statements (http://blog.beliefnet.com/news/2008/12/dalai-lama-talks-of-complete-r.php), the Dalai Lama has strongly implied that he might retire from politics completely. I’m not sure how seriously to take this sort of talk—I tend to think it’s more likely that he’s sort of testing the waters.
However, if it turns out that he really does retire from politics, I wonder if that might not end up being better for the Tibetan movement in the long run. I think that the fundamental problem with the negotiations between Beijing and the Dalai Lama so far is that they are not interested in negotiating on the same subject. The Dalai Lama wants to negotiate on behalf of the Tibetan people for political reforms in Tibet. The government in Beijing has never said they wanted to talk about that; instead, they have said they will negotiate about the Dalai Lama’s personal status. If the Dalai Lama gives up his political role and leaves it to the exile prime minister to have political negotiations, then maybe it will become possible for him to start negotiations with Beijing regarding his personal status. That is, he might actually be able to return to Tibet as an individual. By doing so, he might be able to create a degree of trust and goodwill which would eventually make political reforms possible.
The tricky part that remains, though, is that the Dalai Lama can give up his political role, but I don’t think he can retire from his religious role. In order to return, he would probably need some kind of reliable assurances that there would be reduced political interference in Tibetan religion. Most importantly, how could he return to Tibet if he thought the CCP would still control the selection and education of the next Dalai Lama?
In the comments to an earlier post related to Tibet, I found it striking that, although by different routes, bianxiangbianqiao and wuming and I have reached roughly the same conclusion, viz that there’s no logical reason why Tibet should remain part of China, but, at the same time, it is completely impossible for China to let it become independent, since that would invariably be seen as China giving up 19% of its land area (or even 13%, which is what the TAR is). Particularly so since, as bxbq points out, the boundaries of “Tibet” are quite fuzzy. I could draw a border that I think would be a fair delimitation of “where Tibetans traditionally predominated and still do”, but obviously there would be a lot of people who would disagree with any given attempt. Continue reading (Letter from Otto Kerner, Opposing Viewpoint) Tibet: A Way Forward?→
Party members and public servants working in the Tibet autonomous region were given an ultimatum on July 14 to call back their children within two months from overseas schools and monasteries run by the “Dalai clique”, the International Herald Leader (IHL), owned by the Xinhua News Agency, said Wednesday.
Under a regulation drawn up by the regional Party and government disciplinary inspection commissions, which was released last week, those who fail to do so will be expelled from the Party and removed from their posts, the IHL report said.
What should we call the Dalai Lama? It might seem like a silly enough question… but if you look deeper, there lies a more substantial issue of basic respect and mutual understanding. On Davidpeng’s blog (in an article linking to one of our entries)… an interesting discussion has developed (原贴) on that exact topic.
One commenter (Flatfish, a frequent Tibetan visitor) reacted to part of the original discussion when the term “the Dalai” was used:
In reference to the proper name for the Dalai Lama, let me talk about a few related things that have touched me deeply.
After the end of the Second World War, a court sentenced Mr. Hideki Tojo to death by hanging. Mr. Tojo immediately stood, and with perfect manners bowed deeply to the judges; he didn’t say another word. When the Tibetan uprising (in 1959) expanded, quite a few Tibetans were executed. Before they were shot, they politely said “T’oo-Je-Che” (Tibetan term of thanks). Later, when the families of the executed were charged expenses of 200-500 RMB, they again said “T’oo-Je-Che”, and nothing else.
For the Dalai Lama, the respectful way of referring to him in English is: His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In Tibetan, the respectful way of referring to him is Jiawa Renbuqie (嘉瓦仁布切，Gyalwa Rinpoche), Kundun (昆顿), or Yixi Loubu (益西罗布, Yeshe Norbu). Tibetans would never use the name Dalai Lama, because that’s actually equivalent to a title, and not a name.
My point is, if any group or government investigates and finds the Dalai Lama guilty of a crime, then all of these details could be revealed to the public, and they could proceed to trial and conviction. And if anyone, including Han, have doubts or criticisms of him, that’s also not a problem. And for those who are not Buddhists and not Tibetan Buddhists don’t necessarily have to refer to him by his courtesy title. But all should respect basic human rights, and do not casually shorten the title Dalai Lama to just “the Dalai”.
If there’s one thing we’ve consistently criticized here, it’s that the Dalai Lama (and “clique”) has largely failed to reach out to the Chinese people directly. For every interview he provides to the Chinese-language press, it seems he’s done fifty for foreign language press. And even when he makes an attempt to speak to the Chinese (as with an open letter released earlier this year), his ignorance and lack of familiarity shows through.
But he is at least making an active effort to change this. He has met with individual Chinese in the United States and Germany in recent months. And in his just completed trip through Australia, he met with the Chinese-language press, and also hosted an open Q&A session targeted at overseas Chinese. (Unfortunately the session was organized with a dissident group with links to the FLG… but that’s not the point here.)
Here’s what he had to say in Australia, courtesy of the International Campaign for Tibet (原文):
Dalai Lama: … Problems related to Tibet must absolutely be resolved between the Han and Tibetan races, no one else can deal with this type of problem. And precisely because of that, the Chinese, the Han in inland China, you must understand the real situation, this is very important.
So, what is the real situation in his opinion? Read on for more.
Well, we are a little behind the curve here at Fool’s Mountain. An article titled “Down with the Dalai Lama” was published* by the Guardian a few weeks ago, and I was completely ignorant of it until the Chinese translation began to be passed around. (*Was it actually published in print, or is it only available online?)
The Dalai Lama says he wants Tibetan autonomy and political independence. Yet he allows himself to be used as a tool by western powers keen to humiliate China. Between the late 1950s and 1974, he is alleged to have received around $15,000 a month, or $180,000 a year, from the CIA. He has also been, according to the same reporter, “remarkably nepotistic”, promoting his brothers and their wives to positions of extraordinary power in his fiefdom-in-exile in Dharamsala, northern India.
He poses as the quirky, giggly, modern monk who once auctioned his Land Rover on eBay for $80,000 and has even done an advert for Apple (quite what skinny white computers have got to do with Buddhism is anybody’s guess). Yet in truth he is a product of the crushing feudalism of archaic, pre-modern Tibet, where an elite of Buddhist monks treated the masses as serfs and ruthlessly punished them if they stepped out of line.
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: Continue reading Briefs on Tibet: Action and Reaction→
It has now been more than 2 months since the Lhasa riots, and weeks since the Beijing government met with the Dalai Lama’s personal envoys in Shenzhen. The passions aroused by the protests associated with the Torch relay has cooled a little. Now, we can turn to deeper, less emotional consideration of the Dalai Lama and what he stands for.
The Dalai Lama’s recent trip to Europe is giving us a new opportunity to evaluate exactly what his position is, and whether he’s a potential partner for peace. A previous blog entry discussed the possibility of a new bargaining position for the Dalai Lama, and clearly positions have changed dramatically over recent weeks.
For the lack of a better option, we’ll have to rely on the Xinhua state news agency to ask the questions that are on the minds of many Chinese. Below is the translation of a blog entry from a Xinhua news reporter, about his experience at a Dalai Lama news conference in Germany.
While being interviewed at the Cannes film festival, Sharon Stone shared some candid words on her reactions to the Sichuan earthquake, which to date is estimated to have killed more than 80,000 (including confirmed fatalities and those missing) and left millions homeless. I would strongly urge everyone to listen for yourself at this YouTube link. The following is a transcript I took down from the video clip as precisely as possible. The capitalized words reflect her own emphasized tones.
[EDITED to break the transcript into more readable parts]
Sharon Stone: … Well you know it was very interesting because at first, you know, I am not happy about the ways the Chinese were treating the Tibetans because I don’t think anyone should be unkind to anyone else. And so I have been very concerned about how to think and what to do about that because I don’t like THAT.
And I had been this, you know, concerned about, oh how should we deal with the Olympics because they are not being nice to the Dalai Lama, who is a good friend of mine.
And all these earthquake and stuff happened and I thought: IS THAT KARMA? When you are not nice that bad things happen to you.
And then I got a letter, from the Tibetan Foundations that they want to go and be helpful. And that made me cry. And they ask me if I would write a quote about that and I said, “I would.” And it was a big lesson to me, that some times you have to learn to put your head down and be of service even to people who are not nice to you. And that’s a big lesson for me.