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Posts Tagged ‘tibet’

Translation: Back to Lhasa (Part II)

February 14th, 2009 149 comments

[Editor’s note: Previously we have translated Back to Lhasa (Part I) . The following are translations by Allen of journal entries 回到拉萨之六七八 Back to Lhasa (chapters 6-8)– originally posted on Jan 25, 2009]

Return to Lhasa (6): Drinking with the sky burial masters

North of Lhasa, in the Nyangri mountains, is a famed temple named “Pabongka.” Located on a turtle shaped stone, the temple surprisingly receives few outside tourists these days. According to legend, Songtsen Gampo and Princess Wen Cheng once lived there. The temple is also the birthplace of the Tibetan language. Stored in the temple are the earliest stone tablets of carved Tibetan alphabets known. Although the temple is small, it occupies a special place in Tibetan hearts for its historical importance both in the context of Tibetan language as well as Tibetan Buddhism. Read more…

Categories: culture, education, religion Tags: ,

Translation: Back to Lhasa (Part I)

February 11th, 2009 18 comments

[Editor’s note: The following are translations by Charles Liu (Introduction and Chapters 1-4) and Allen (Chapter 5 and overall editing)  of journal entries  Back to Lhasa (回到拉萨 (未完待续,超长慎入)) – Part I (chapter 1-5) posted on Jan 18, 2009.]

Preface

The author of this journal, Zhen Fu, then a college student, traveled alone to Tibet for the first time in 2003. It would be a life-changing experience. Not only did she fulfill her life-time dream of traveling to the mysterious land that is Tibet: to see its majestic beauty, to meet its remarkable people and to witness their remarkable culture, but Zhen also met her future husband, Mingji Mao, during her journey. Together they would write a book “Diaries from Tibet” based on their true love story. They made a promise to return to Tibet together.  Five years later, Zhen and Mingji fulfilled this promise. This article is about what they saw on their return to Lhasa at the end of 2008.

Read more…

Categories: culture, education, religion Tags: ,

Opinion: Dear Mr. Dalai Lama … please tear down this wall!

January 24th, 2009 431 comments

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… Read more…

Climate Change: Tibetan Plateau in Peril

January 20th, 2009 7 comments

Too often when we discuss Tibet, we reflexively focus our attention on the political spat between the CCP and the Dalai Lama.  However, Tibet is much more than the current political spat.

For one thing: there is the people; the indigenous culture; the land – and of course the important environmental role the Tibetan Plateau plays in regional as well as global environment.

The following is a video from Asia Society on the Peril the Tibetan Plateau is under – as well its implication for all of us in light of global climate change. Read more…

(Letter from Otto Kerner, Opposing Viewpoint) What if the Dalai Lama returned to Tibet as a private citizen? Some details …

January 4th, 2009 226 comments

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?

I got to thinking about some of the details that would need to be settled in order for this to be possible. I came up with eight specific points, although the eighth is a bit of an epilogue and would not be implemented until the government decides things are going well. Read more…

(Letter from Otto Kerner, Opposing Viewpoint) Dalai Lama to retire from politics?

December 25th, 2008 74 comments

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?

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

Disgruntled political essayist sentenced to three years of international fame

November 22nd, 2008 133 comments

Chen Daojun (陈道军), a relatively obscure activist (or provocateur depending on one’s point of view) in China, was sentenced to three years in prison for “inciting subversion of state authority” (煽动颠覆国家政权罪) yesterday. Thus the Chinese government, quite rightfully described as clumsy and self-defeating in presenting itself, just launched someone into a career of fame and awards. Who wants to bet on the recipient of next year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought?

Read more…

Categories: General, News Tags: , ,

(Letter from skylight, Opposing Viewpoint) What has been the result of Dalai Lama’s 30-years of dialogue?

September 14th, 2008 195 comments

An assessment of thirty years of dialogue by Skylight.

For thirty years, Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in Exile has approached the Chinese leadership to resolve the Tibet issue. Since the resumption of dialogue in 2002, there has been seven rounds of meeting and confidence building exercises between Dalai Lama’s envoys and the United Front Work Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. Read more…

Pocketbook References for Tibet

September 5th, 2008 185 comments

Two of the most commented threads over the last week relate to Tibet.  Even a neutral posting on the administration of the website has also somehow “devolved” into a debate over Tibet.

Read more…

(Letter from Otto Kerner, Opposing Viewpoint) Tibet: A Way Forward?

September 1st, 2008 321 comments

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. Read more…

Categories: Analysis, Letters Tags: , , ,

(Letter from Otto Kerner, Opposing Viewpoint) The religious politics of reincarnation

August 17th, 2008 79 comments

Some of the comments to a recent post show what I believe are misconceptions about the religious politics of the Dalai Lama’s putative reincarnations. One commenter writes:

Since the next reincarnation of Dalai Lama supposed to be “discovered” by the current Penchan Lama, how can a democratically reincarnated Dalai Lama have any religious legitimacy?

Read more…

Dalai Lama offers olive branch. Is he going to visit China this November?

August 16th, 2008 124 comments

According to New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, Dalai Lama no longer insists on the “meaningful autonomy” of Tibet in the one-country-two-systems model. He will accept communist rule in Tibet. According to Kristof it is imperative for the Chinese authorities to reciprocate. He suggests a possibility for Dalai to visit China in November, for the commemoration of the 6th month of the Sichuan Earthquake. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

(Letter from es.nautilus) Handling Olympic protests in Beijing – a ‘test case’?

August 6th, 2008 36 comments

Four members of the activist group, Students for a Free Tibet, have staged a lamppost protest in Beijing, unfurling a banner that read, ‘One World, One Dream – Free Tibet’, as the Olympic torch relay entered its final stage in the host city on Wednesday 6 August. All four – two British and two American nationals, holding tourist visas – have been arrested and are currently in police custody. In their interviews with the BBC, parents of the two British protesters spoke of their pride and explained that they were otherwise not unduly concerned about their children’s safety. They added that following the arrests the British students had made direct contact with their respective families, confirming that they had been treated well in custody. It is believed that they will now be entered into the deportation process within the coming days, whilst human rights campaign groups, including Students for a Free Tibet, have claimed further protests will follow in the weeks ahead. Read more…

Categories: Analysis, News Tags: , , ,

(Letter from The Trapped) Tibet officials issued with Dalai school ultimatum

July 24th, 2008 50 comments

Here is a piece of news on CD.

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.

Read more…

Categories: education, News Tags: , ,

A meaningful exchange on Tibet

July 21st, 2008 49 comments

On one of our earlier threads on the misnamed Dalai Lama, there is an excellent on-going exchange of thoughts and positions from two of our posters: one is a Tibetan in exile, the other is Chinese in China.

Read more…

Categories: Letters Tags: ,

The misnamed Dalai Lama

June 26th, 2008 89 comments

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”.

Read more…

Categories: culture Tags: , ,

Dalai Lama tries speaking to the Chinese

June 21st, 2008 69 comments

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.

Read more…

"Down with the Dalai Lama" – Western criticism

June 19th, 2008 41 comments

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?)

Here are a few choice snippets from that article:

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.

Read more…

Categories: Letters Tags: ,

Olympic torch arrives in Shangri-La

June 11th, 2008 105 comments

The Olympic torch has arrived in its first Tibetan Autonomous county, and will arrive in Lhasa later this month.

Reuters gives us this report of the torch’s visit to Shangri-La in Yunnan province, with responses both positive and negative from Tibetans in China:

Read more…

Categories: News Tags: ,

Briefs on Tibet: Action and Reaction

June 7th, 2008 102 comments

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:
Read more…

Even more reader questions on Tibet

May 30th, 2008 20 comments

On a previous thread, Otto Kerner poses some excellent questions on Tibet. (Here is an earlier thread with a reader’s questions about Tibet.)

I give an attempt at addressing these questions below. I hope others will contribute their thoughts as well.

Read more…

Categories: q&a Tags:

Questions for the Dalai Lama

May 27th, 2008 64 comments

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.

Read more…

Categories: media, News Tags: , ,

"Shift from feudalism no easy leap"

May 21st, 2008 3 comments

Insightful editorial from the Sydney Morning Herald, discussing the issue of Tibet, China, and the Olympics.

The recent demonstrations in support of Tibetan independence have been a carefully co-ordinated boutique public relations operation rather than an outbreak of mass demonstrations.

Video records of demonstrations in Tibet show an ugly, racist side to the unrest as ethnic Tibetans (but not monks) kicked, beat and stabbed Han Chinese, along with the ransacking and looting of Han-owned businesses. The Government had no choice but to intervene with force.

China has a long history of civil war. For more than a millennium, it has lived under a sequence of dictatorships, absolute monarchies and uncompromising feudalism. To move so vast a culture so quickly has required the Government to retain a firm grip on the centrifugal forces that could tear the country asunder.

The idea that China can simply jump from ingrained feudalism to a plural democracy in a single generation cannot coexist with the real world.

It also includes details on past Olympic boycotts I wasn’t aware of.

Few Australians even know that the 1956 Games in Melbourne was boycotted by Spain, the Netherlands and Switzerland over the Soviet invasion of Hungary, and by Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and Cambodia over the occupation of the Suez Canal by Britain and France. In 1976, 21 African nations boycotted the Montreal Olympics because New Zealand had not been banned for playing rugby union against South Africa. In 1980 the United States and some allies boycotted the Moscow Games over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In 1984 the Soviet bloc boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics in retaliation for the 1980 boycott.

None was effective. None achieved more than transient symbolism. To throw the 2008 Olympics into chaos over Tibet would thus be overkill, disproportionate and counterproductive, in support of a dubious moral argument.

Categories: News Tags: ,

More on Tibet and Wang Lixiong – Another reader's questions

May 20th, 2008 41 comments

One of our readers, JL wrote this in an earlier thread:

So Tibet is very similar to the European colonies. Researching this is my day job so I can provide you more references if you want. And I’m disappointed that you would deny it because you think “its dangerous” to do so. I thought you were interested objective reality?

My point here is not that Tibet should be independent, or even that it should be more autonomous: after all the Maori now have very little autonomy in New Zealand. But I would have liked to have seen some honesty regarding Tibetan history from Chinese netizens. Happily, there are Chinese scholars who are more honest about Tibet’s colonial past and present though. I suggest you check out 王力雄, a Beijing based researcher, whose work presents Tibetan history from a fairly neutral perspective.

Your “suggestion” that we read Wang Lixiong’s works is not only patronizing, but also misguided. I’ll respond to this below.

Read more…

Categories: q&a Tags: , , ,

Dalai Lama: "I can't wait to be a Chinese citizen"

May 18th, 2008 7 comments

The Dalai Lama speaks with the Times (UK) as he begins his European tour. Very interestingly, he describes what might be a revolutionary change in position as far as a return to China.

In an unexpected shift of policy, he has four conditions which, if met, would permit him to return.

I analyze and discuss these four conditions below.

Read more…

Categories: Analysis, News Tags: ,

"Fed Up With Peace" – Kristof writes again on Tibet

May 18th, 2008 6 comments

As a follow-up to the previously published column on Tibet, Kristof returns with some stinging criticisms of China’s policy in Tibet. Refreshingly, he also criticizes everyone else involved:

The recent uprising by Tibetans underscores the utter failure of Beijing’s policies in Tibet. But it also reflects the failure of the Dalai Lama and of America.

The Dalai Lama has played a waiting game, but as China gains global power — and as more Han Chinese flood into Tibet — that has been a losing strategy. The Dalai Lama has won acclaim internationally, but that acclaim triggers the deep Chinese sensitivity to foreign bullying and thus has antagonized the audience that may count the most: China.

Read more…

Categories: Analysis Tags: ,

The Terrified Monks

May 16th, 2008 47 comments

Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times is traveling in Xiahe, Gansu. (We can safely assume his trip isn’t within the past week, or otherwise he would’ve been within a few hundred miles of the earthquake’s epicenter.)

The editorial adds little that is new to the discussion. It is a reiteration of monks claiming that they were assaulted while arrested, which correlated with a military presence, is finally translated into a “harsh crackdown”. The editorial ends with this line:

China is emerging as a great power in this century, and it is famously concerned with saving face. But it loses far more face from its own repression of Tibetans than from anything the Dalai Lama has ever done.

Kristof suggests on his blog that many Chinese will be outraged by the editorial, and invites comments. Mine are repeated here.

Read more…

Categories: Analysis Tags: , , ,

Harvard: Tibetan/Han Panelists Probe Issues

May 14th, 2008 19 comments

If there’s one positive that has come out of the recent conflict in Tibet (and subsequent echoes around the world), it has raised awareness amongst many Chinese that the problem exists.  I think many (including myself) have learned much more about Tibetan wishes over the past two months, and this type of understanding can only help.

Kudos to those at Harvard who organized a very interesting panel discussion discussing the issues.  From the Harvard Crimson:

Tibet Poverty Alleviation Fund President Arthur N. Holcombe said that a resolution would only result from dialogue between the two groups.

“It is important for all of us that solutions to the problem are not an either-or-situation,” he said. “The solution must come from joint collaboration with the Han and Tibetan peoples.”


“Ultimately we are here today to listen to different perspectives on this situation,” Holcombe added.

Senior fellow in East Asian Legal Studies at the Law School Lobsang Sangay—who showed photographs of violence in Tibet—praised the discussion for achieving what he said the Chinese government has done poorly.

“Finally, after the tragedy, one good thing has happened,” he said, referring to last night’s panel. “The Han Chinese have taken responsibility—shared responsibility.”

Zhongrui Yin ’11, organizer of the event, said that last night’s dialogue was a positive step in achieving harmony between the groups.

“I was very delighted that we were able to have a very respectful, yet very frank, dialogue,” he said. “I wish the speakers could have talked to each other more, but the overall attitude was very positive.

Read more…

Categories: Analysis Tags:

Separatists kill 8 railway workers

May 12th, 2008 4 comments

This story just off the wire talks about more violence on the foothills of the Himalayas, resulting from a recent government crack-down on a long simmering separatist movement. Read more…

Categories: Analysis Tags: ,

Tibet: Answers to a reader's questions

May 12th, 2008 61 comments

A reader of our blog asked this question on a previous thread:

To Buxi and CLC:
Thanks for your replies. WRT Tibetan independence, some Tibetans seek it, presumably as they see it to be to their benefit. PRC opposes it, as they see it as a detriment. I would like to explore the second part. I’ve read the historical justifications for Tibet being within China, such as the territorial relationship dating back hundreds of years at least. There’s also the point that the PLA moved in to liberate Tibetan serfs and slaves. In moving forward, the principle of “One China” drives policy. My questions are the following:
1. If a majority of the residents of present day Tibet do not want to remain in China (I realize that is a major assumption, and the act of accurately determining that ie a referendum is not a realistic option for the CCP circa 2008), how does it benefit China to keep this territory in the fold? It’s like keeping a bad apple employee within a company: wouldn’t company performance, and the morale of remaining employees, improve by removing said bad apple, such that all who remain truly want to be there, and are willing to wholeheartedly contribute to the “business” of improving China?
2. “One China” is a euphemism I don’t understand. There was, is, and ever will be only one China. The question is what geographical parts you include. Does a region that at one time was considered part of China, need to forever remain so, for the present and future benefit of the whole?

Read more…

Categories: q&a Tags: , ,