Was It Violence?

It was unfortunate that when the protests started in Lhasa last month His Holiness made a statement threatening to resign because of “violence committed by Tibetans in his homeland” (AP). I don’t want to subject His Holiness’s use of the word “violence” to any kind of semantic scrutiny, in the manner of William Safire in the New York Times Magazine, but in a world raging with extreme political violence of the most appalling kind, it might not be out of place to offer a respectful suggestion to His Holiness and other Tibetan leaders that they should be careful (to a necessary obsessive degree) that their statements do not provide any kind of opportunity for Beijing (or its apologists in the West) to misrepresent what really happened or cast doubts on the essential righteousness of the Tibetan cause. His Holiness’s threat to resign also made it appear then that Tibetans in Lhasa had done something quite dreadful.

We can create a perspective correction of the events if we re-evaluate the meaning of “violence” in the context of real political conflicts taking place around the world at the time of the Lhasa protests. That same week in Iraq a female suicide bomber killed 40 and wounded 65 in Karbala. A week earlier two bombs in Baghdad’s Karrada district killed 62 and wounded 120. Two weeks earlier a suicide bomber killed 63 pilgrims and wounded scores in Iskandariya. A month earlier two female suicide bombers killed 72 at a Baghdad market. In early March Hamas was firing Qassam rockets into Israel and a week or two later Israel staged a deadly ground military operation in northern Gaza Strip, leaving around 130 Palestinians killed.

We know that in Lhasa some Chinese were beaten up in the first few days of the protests. A few quite badly. Shops were torched. There was no real looting, in the sense of stealing, for we have reports that the protesters pulled out goods from the shops, piled them in the streets and set them alight. It was a political statement. The worst thing that happened was the death of four young women, three Chinese and a Tibetan who were hiding inside a shop when it was torched. As terrible as this was, I think we can be fairly certain that no one intended to kill these young women. Official Chinese reports state that fourteen people were killed and China’s propagandists have used these deaths to whip up anti-Tibetan feelings among Chinese worldwide.

There was more than justifiable provocation for the Tibetan outburst, which occurred because monks, who a couple of days earlier had been conducting a peaceful demonstration, were beaten, arrested, (and according to some sources even killed) by Chinese security. When Mahatma Gandhi launched his non-cooperation movement in February 1922, shooting by police in Chauri Chaura in UP, resulted in satyagrahis attacking and burning a police station causing the death of 23 policemen. Gandhi called off the action and he blamed himself for not having prepared his people better. No serious student of Indian history regards this as Gandhi’s personal failure or the collapse or betrayal of the non-violent movement. When one is shaking the foundations of an empire, even in an avowedly non-violent way, as Gandhi did eighty years ago and Tibetans are doing right now, it would be unrealistic not to expect an untoward incident or two.

Tibetan protesters in Tibet have not had any training or education in non-violent activism as had Gandhi’s followers or civil rights activists in the American south in the sixties. Tibetan protesters had not even received some minimal direction from a central leadership. It was all individual initiative and courage. Considering this, the overall resolution and restraint of the protesters is movingly impressive. Yet it is important that Tibetans take a wider global and even historical view of their struggle. A discussion is urgently needed on how much Gandhi’s example and teachings on non-violence have influenced the Tibetan freedom movement. And if it hasn’t done so, how we can bring such a thing about. But I will save that discussion for a future blog.

Overall, the protests throughout Tibet have been as non-violent as one can seriously expect. Chinese reprisals have been swift and brutal. According to the TGIE over 150 Tibetans have been shot and many hundreds even thousands arrested. People are now living in absolute terror of Chinese Security raids and reprisals. So what does some incident of rock throwing or a punch-up or two tell us? Just that Tibetans are a peaceful people still, but that they are also human. That’s all there is to it.

Report of “violent protests” in Tibet have provided an opening to certain self-proclaimed “concerned but objective” types to segue their views into the hot topic of “Tibet Protests and the Beijing Olympics” and allowed them an opportunity to disparage the effort of Tibetan protesters and supporters, and cast doubts on the issue of Tibetan independence. My attention was drawn to this by a comment on my blog by “Rich” who mentioned his “dealing with so many China scholars and China-minded businessmen and politicians over the years, who even while often claiming to have sympathy for Tibet continue to undermine and oppose active struggle for Tibet’s freedom.” Another comment by “Jessica” referred me to an article by “Andrew Fischer” in the Guardian, which appears to have caused unnecessary misgivings and second-guessing among Tibet supporters in Britain. In similar vein there is Patrick French’s recent op-ed in the New York Times.

I would like to discuss this unusual counteraction to the Tibet protests in some depth, in a follow-up blog. If readers feel there is anyone or any particular article or op-ed that I should include in the coming discussion, do post a comment. Thanks.


111 Replies to “Was It Violence?”

  1. PRC unfree press has been working hard from day one to find an uncomplicated way to make people inside and outside the PRC believe that the police provocations (and other longer-term Tibetan dissatisfactions) had nothing to do with the outbreak of violence, but that it was something foreign, planned by His Holiness the Dalai Lama or, more recently, a plot of the Tibetan Youth Congress. (See “The Name of the Game is Blame” at Agam’s Gecko blogsite.) These guys simply cannot admit any failures on their part, since I guess that would be perceived as a sign of weakness… I wonder if you see close correspondences between the happenings in March ’08 and the earlier events of 1987 & ’89. It seems to me that the idea to destroy Chinese commercial goods (and *not* loot them), burning them in big piles in the streets happened then, too. (As I remember, it was said that if people saw other people carrying something away from a shop they would make them throw it on the bonfire… otherwise, they said, ‘Chinese would say it was just about stealing.’) Did any shop torchings happen back then? I don’t remember. In any case, thank you for writing and clarifying. Blog on!

  2. Hello

    I see that you wish to minimize the events in Lhassa, trying to compare it with other events and famous people (Ghandi) elsewhere. No you can’t, the scenes in Lhasa speak for themselves. Why 14 deaths when the Chinese say 19 ?

    you say : ‘it was all individual initiative and courage. Considering this, the overall resolution and restraint of the protesters is movingly impressive.”

    “Overall, the protests throughout Tibet have been as non-violent as one can seriously expect.

    “So what does some incident of rock throwing or a punch-up or two tell us? Just that Tibetans are a peaceful people still, but that they are also human.”

    This is crazy and lying. It was the police that had restraint. The protesters were not protesting they were distroying and killing and maiming innocent people and buildings. You don’t seem to be able to admit this.

    I have participating in a French forum about the Tibetan stuff on a TV channel after a program about it.

    I happened to see the discussions on Youtube of you and others in Tibet House talking about the problem of the future reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.

    After watching the 6 episodes, I wrote on the french forum that I found it astonishing that the panel didn’t agree amongst themselves, that they didn’t know what the Dalai Lama wanted and that You, not being religious yourself, were proposing that the future reincarnation could happen in a neighbouring country, that the parents would be so happy. To me it seemed that it was the proof that the pro-tibetan exiles still didn’t understand or respect human rights. Because where are the rights of the child ?

    I was very disappointed, thinking that some tibetan exiles had really understood and had attained a real democratic level.

    Then a few days ago, I was visiting the Phayul forums and stumbled on your essay(2005), about superstition among the exiles. I thought it was a very good essay, not realizing you were the same person.

    I even translated part of your essay and some of the comments to post on the French forum. There were many points that the French in general have no idea about.

    Unfortunately, I see that you are the same person. I am disappointed, although I can understand that people like you who are recognized as modernists, intellectuals among the exiles, still have beliefs and still propose such things as reincarnations for the Dalai Lama while knowing perfectly that it’s a stupid superstition. Please consider changing your point of view, as how can anyone proclaiming human rights can ignore that of a child, whose whole life will be artificially gouverned by ancient rites and rituals and have huge responsability that he should not have.

    As for this latest blog post, I am reconsidering even your integrity because it seems you are promoting disinformation.

    The French, as no doubt most other western countries really need a lot of real information, as otherwise it’s very basic and very biased considering the militants drowning all the forums and medias.

    What politician can know about the truth, the many ‘truths’, seeing that all sides are semi-truths only bent on their personal aims and ideology or traditional dreams ? It’s virtually impossible.

    So why doesn’t someone like yourself consecrate your writing talents and your knowledge to real truth instead of writing this sort of dishonest article on your blog ? People could benefit from your knowledge, but you should change your companions, that you yourself has described as an archaic superstitious people that can’t even benefit from the minimum offered by the chinese. It seems that you should seriously reconsider your positions and if you want to help people then do it with the talents that you have, not belonging to wrong sides.

  3. I totally agree with you Norbu, but marginalizing th Chinese deaths at teh beginning of the riots in Lhasa does not help the cause. The one strength of the Tibetans is their moral stance against violence, let alone against killing. The point that these people died by accident does not make their death less tragic.
    Let us pray for the victims on both sides.

  4. Rudy, people die in war. It’s sad, of course, and I think we’d all like to see a world without war – but not if it exists only because every human being has become too frightened to stand up to injustice and oppression. The war that continues now was started by the Chinese more than half a century ago and has been perpetuated by China’s continued failure to address Tibetans’ grievances with Chinese rule.

    As we all know, Tibetans have been overwhelmingly nonviolent in recent years, despite an ongoing war to purge strong pro-independence individuals and assimilate Tibet into China. I’m reminded of the characterization of Tibetans in the well-loved song Gangchanpa (by Dolma Kyab) as “shab gi chak pai cham sem chan gi mirik chik”, literally “a people of kindness, broken by the feet…” Using the honorific form for feet, the phrase is naturally interpreted in a Buddhist context to mean that this nature of kindness and nonviolence was established through bringing the mind under the discipline of the teachings, but literally it could just as well mean that Tibetans have been trodden upon by the Chinese. In either case, I find the characterization really moving as an expression of how a brave, proud, and once-fierce people have been confined – whether by religious devotion, Chinese guns, or Western stereotypes – to responding to war crimes almost exclusively with peaceful expression and self-sacrifice, often with little or no results.

    So in light of all that, I agree completely with Jamyang Norbu-la. It’s sad that people died, but I absolutely will not blame Tibetans for what happened.

  5. I think AlICIE has to know Jamyang Norbula more in order to understand his articles. As for the reincarnation tradition, at least, I and lots of my friends consider it as a way of transferring political power purely. It has a lot to do with Hinduism. I don’t think anybody who got their education in western believe people can reborn.
    I don’t believe Dalai Lama is God or manifestations of Avalokiteshvara, or Chenrezig, Bodhisattva of Compassion, holder of the White Lotus. These elaborated descriptions are purely Hinduism. Are we following Buddha or Hindu Gods?

    I was very shocked when I heard that Dalai Lama said something like resigning from the political status completely if violence continued in Tibet. I think Dalai Lama himself quite don’t understand the position of the Dalai Lama is a political position practically speaking. It was a political position and the way he was selected was not a miracle. It was not like seeing vision in Lhamolhatso. “I suggest reading the book “Tibet Tibet” by French Patrick. Everything was pre-arrange according to the political system.

    We, new generation of Tibetan, understand our past more than ever now. We are not superstitious as our parents. However, in order to make our parents lives less miserable, we still pray and bow for the picture of the Dalai Lama. We still do follow old tradition for the sake of the unity of our people. But that doesn’t make me to preserve our old Hindu Brahman tradition. In fact, I want to suggest that reincarnation tradition should be stopped now. China is using it against us. In our small exile community, there are thousands of Rinpoche who were just collecting money and praying for nothing. I think those who have Rinpoche title should be banned from getting political position. It has to start from “Lodi Gyari Rinpoche”
    and of coures Samdhong Rinpoche…lots of them. Or they should get rid of Rinpoche Title. These are old and bad tradition which Chinese is using it against us.

    As for the current situation, I think there is only one suggestion. Dalai Lama has to lead the March to Tibet campaign, otherwise, nothing is going to happen. Hundreds of people are dying in Tibet, and we can’t do anything to help them. We gave them false hope to stand against Chinese but all we can do in exile is lip service.
    I shared the same thought of Jamyangla on “Non-Violence is not Non-action. Moreover, Non –violence is standing against violence without violence.

  6. I totally agree with your thoughts and perspective on this issue. This is a great artilce and please keep writing to create more debate and discussion among our Tibetan youth.

  7. I think it funny that Chinese people and media focus exclusively on a few people they claim have been killed by Tibetans, and can’t seem to even address the thousands of Tibetans killed by Chinese over the recent years.

    Funny. I didn’t see such Chinese outrage when Chinese soldiers fired on unarmed refugees at Nangla in the autumn of 2006.

    Anyway, I don’t feel Tibetans are a litmus test for my Buddhism, and if they feel the need to become more aggressive in securing their freedom, i can say I will still support them and their struggle. Many free countries today had to resort to revolutionary violence to gain their freedom from colonialism. And indeed, the foundation of American democracy was not peaceful in the least either.

    People have misconceptions about Buddhism anyway. They don’t know that Buddhists have a right to defend themselves and to secure a life that is free from fear, because they think that Buddhists are pushover lotus-eaters.

    Anyway, good work in writing. I respect what you have to say and find myself in agreement with much of it. As you suggested, perhaps if you can address this issue more: Why Westerners See Tibetans As a Litmus Test for Buddhism/Non-violence and how some of them recently got turned off by the turmoil in Lhasa. That may be a fruitful exploration.

  8. Dear Jamyang Norbu lak,
    Thank you for the wonderful article. I started a news website(www.Meyul.com) when the cries on the roof of the world broke my sleeps at night.
    I posted one of your earlier essay “Don’t Stop the Revolution!” without your permission. At the time, the situation was such that I could hardly think of anything that would cause delay in our work. I apologize for the same.
    I would really appreciate if you permit me to publish this post on our website. I’m sure it will be read by many and will they be blessed by your knowledge.
    [P.S. I have posted a link to your Blog on our Home Page]
    Thank you for being a light during our dark hours.
    Bhod Gyalo!

  9. I guess all that “lithmus test” talk is coming from the Apr. 1 comments of Deepak Chopra:
    I have to admit that what D.C. says there makes a lot more sense to me than his diet books.
    I’m rather amazed about the reincarnation talk here. At the moment it isn’t the point if it is true or not, but whether Tibetans are allowed to have and keep their own changing traditions, their own beliefs in such matters, without external manipulations and controls. Or does freedom of religion mean something else?

  10. Jamyang, Perhaps you may wish to cast your eyes over recent comments made by Robert Barnett in his interview with Foreign Policy March 2008

    The remarks were rather strange, lacking in fact and a troubling misrepresentation of the political aspirations of Tibetans within, and beyond, Tibet. Barnett is flying in the face of a well documented and witnessed reality that Tibetan culture and its people are facing a form of cultural genocide, and a range of human rights abuse. I am thus at a complete loss why he would state: “we have to get over any suggestion that the Chinese are ill-intentioned or trying to wipe out Tibet”. Such comments seem worryingly similar to the fiction peddled by Xinhua, Communist China’s propagandas machine.

    The article does him no credit, in terms of enhancing any genuine understanding of the situation inside Tibet, nor more importantly, from the perspective of providing a balanced and objective analysis. Why do I state this? Well unfortunately some of his comments are simply echoes of Chinese deceptions on Tibet; the references to economic investments assisting Tibetans, the mythology of such supposed aid generating a Tibetan middle-class, the strange fiction that Tibetans are not struggling for territorial and political independence, and the untruth that such calls are from exiled Tibetans only. All share a remarkably similar syntax with the crude propaganda issued by China’s communist regime.

    This is not intellectual balance or objectivity, it is a distortion, and what’s worse it’s borrowed from, and/or influenced by, those architects of oppression that are systematically destroying Tibet.

    There is no ‘honest-broker’ role for Robert Barnett, no academic hiding place to argue that his curious misrepresentations on Tibet derive from some intellectual convention of impartiality. As with any tyranny or cultural genocide there really is no fence-sitting, those with integrity cannot stand by and play the detached anthroplogist, others are morally driven by the terror and suppression to take a stand, some simply run away crying ignorance. But to strike a posture of respectful academia, whilst betraying the facts of injustice, oppression and abuse, on the scale and nature inside Tibet, is utterly unforgiveable.

    It is difficult to understand, unless of course Robert Barnett, has privately, already chosen his stance?

  11. Hi Jamyang Norbu La:

    Thanks for your continuing thoughtful work. On some levels, I’m not sure that it is productive or truthful to paint Tibetans as a whole as “non-violent.” I am not Tibetan, but have spent a fair amount of time in Lhasa, have made an extended stay in a nomadic area of Kham, and speak Tibetan at a lousy but serviceable level. So, I am speaking here not from any real knowledge of politics, but only based on personal observations.

    What I have seen is that Tibetans are indeed violent: Tibetans carry large knives, and these are not just for decoration. I have seen people randomly attacked with knives, people stabbed in crowds, people dueling in the streets. I have a beloved teacher who was stabbed in the heart and died as he tried to break up a fight. People in many small towns do not go out after dusk due to safety concerns, and Tibetan “banditry” is of course the stuff of legend. Anyone familiar with Tibetan history also knows about the kind of violent skirmishing that has happened between rival regions, sects, and so forth.

    So, what do we mean when we say “violence”? The type of violence that happens in modern Tibet is certainly not an ideology of violence, is not organized violence, and most often is not even political violence. Nonetheless, it is impossible to say that Tibetan culture does not involve a kind of small-scale, old-style, and intimate type of violence: not the kind of violence where you shoot from a distance and crush with an army, but where you fight up-close and with your hands.

    I’m not bringing this up to malign Tibetans or paint a bad portrait of Tibetans. Indeed, I have never found Tibetans to celebrate violence or romanticize it, or to hold violence as a type of ideology. Quite the opposite, to me they have been hospitable, patient, and deeply friendly (although I benefit from my status as a foreignor).

    My point is that we need to understand how the type of violence that Tibetans engage in, and the type of violence that they are subjected to are very different, and they play very differently when viewed on the world stage, especially through media. The Chinese army or Public Security can make a massive show of force and shoot Tibetans, and when this is turned into news, somehow it looks “understandable,” as that is the kind of violence we are used to. But when Tibetans engage in violent acts, on a much smaller but more intimate scale, it seems much more shocking when broadcast on the daily news: Tibetans pulling Chinese off of motorcycles or out of shops.

    The effect becomes exaggerated in the west, because of people’s beliefs that Tibetans could never be violent. But more importantly, it is exaggerated by the media in China, who use such images very skillfully to create fear and a sense of outrage at the violent red-faced barbarians, and the social stability and civilization that is brought about by the army.

    So, this is one point, that there are two types of violence.

    Secondly, I think we really do need to be able to discuss what happened in Lhasa as ethnic violence. Why? Because we need to be able to have a discussion of what causes ethnic violence: colonialism, economic marginalization, decades of humiliation, memories of massive violence directed at your culture followed by happy political rhetoric about peace/liberation/prosperity, and most of all watching your culture and religion be erased by people who do not share that culture or religion. That causes rage and violence.

    The problem is that policy makers do not treat ethnic violence as symptomatic of a larger problem, but as self-contained isolated incidents. And so we have come full circle: what began with protests about patriotic re-education in monasteries and then turned violent is now being dealt with by newly re-instituting patriotic re-education campaigns in monasteries.

    I find this so depressing, and am at a loss for a solution.


  12. well,, i could not more agree with you. when it was running in the news channel that his holiness has mentioned retiring from tibet’s political issue if “violence’ in tibet continued, my immediate reaction was—- ‘ i do not agree wit you his holiness”. and it was indeed hear breakening. those tibetans who undertook the protest individually with lots of courage and with the clear knowledge of its consequences, we have to cherish and uphold their strength and sacrifices they have made. devalueing their effort and strength is sad.

    as u mentioned in ur article it surely causes much confusion to the knowledge of the rest of the people when his holiness condemns the protest in Tibet as being violent. i mean then wat else would u expect to do?..
    violence would have happened if the tibetans in tibet carried out attacks in each and every chinese households occupiying in tibet, selectively killing them, raping the chinese women, and beating up chinese elders.
    why just only couple of chinese lives were lost during the incdent. cause it was not a pre planned incident which happened with an intend to cause harms to the chinese. chinese so far has lived comfortably and without any wrath from the peaceful tibetans.
    its the frustration. one day it was bound to vent out.

    i feel terribly sorry for those few chinese who lost their lives but i really cannot mourn over them if i be honest and frank. cause first of all they shouldnt have been in tibet. they shouldnt have been encroaching on our land. saying this still…. i would like to add that. no freedom has been achieved without drops of blood and courage.

    i do not agree with the belief that gandhi gave india independence. bloods were shed by bal, pal, tilak and bose.
    of course, our struggle is still peaceful and each one of us want it to be that way. but sometimes.. you arent left wit many possibilties with single approach. there should be a mixture of both. passion and peace.

    the very next day after hearing the news on tv, i had to tell my classmates and friends, correct the statement given by his holiness.
    but i sincerely hope and pray that his holiness has not said that and rather it was twisted by the news channel.

    and having said that, the underlying concern is that whatvere means or approach the tibetans in tibet took while protesting against the chinese, each and very tibetan around the world stand by it and honour their matrydom. nothing else.

    bhoe gyalo’

  13. Violence is violence no matter how small or big, no matter how intentional or unintentional. Same thing goes for non-violence.

    If Tibetans are going to be violent they might as well go all the way and the same holds true for non-violence.

    A half-hearted approach in either case, will get nowhere.

  14. Dear Jamyang la:

    Thank you for educating us about Tibet and the world, and of course our colonial Communist invader/oppressor.

    I was very troubled by the way, how “His Holiness resignation if violence continues” was taken out of its original context in the form of an interview with the Observer. Instead of just looking at whether pelting of stones, torching of shops and resulting of an unintended death of four women including a Tibetan constitute violence, I think we should look at what spurred such revolts, the 10th March of 1959 in the first place.

    I can’t imagine you to be as articulate as when you spoke about the reincarnation, as Alicie (supposedly a Fench, could be as much a Chinese given their Communist intrusion of people’s space) has alluded. Your points decrying the traditional selection in favor of the Vatican-like election raise several strong points.

    1. It ensures the continuity of the line of Dalai Lama, while maintaining at its core its mystical and mythological elements.
    2. It saves the appointment of Dalai Lama being reduced to a procedure no different from an election procedure followed elsewhere.
    3. It will continue to remain a unifying force for Tibetans of all regions.
    4. With him we claim to enkindle the flame of Tibetan “sovereignty,” that he wielded since the First Dalai Lama (1391-1474), and now enshrined in our Charter of Tibetan Government currently upheld in the exile community. It is this legitimacy that we have denied so far, and now it safely rests in the Tibetan people under a democratic setup, with the Dalai Lama as the grantor and guarantor of this sovereignty.

    It is sad that people like Robert Barnett and Tom Grunfield exchange moral conscience for a little academic leverage. It is their personal choice, in fact. But doing so at the cost of effacing an entire civilization would not be something their family and their children would love to be remembered for. But there are hundreds who continue to speak for truth despite political and ideological differences.

    So I think people like Robert Barnett and Tom Grunfield knows well that a movement is not determined by the size or number, but rather by the determination. We know the “tank man” left a statement as loud as the “entire pro-democratic students” in terms of drawing people’s attention to an ongoing manslaughter, political domination and cultural genocide. So it is all about determination and our aspiration, which I think you helped generate very effectively.

  15. Tsong, calling an approach half-hearted assumes there’s only one heart involed. The reality is that there are 6 million. Every successful independence movement in this world has had both nonviolent and violent components.

    The existence of violent political action in Tibet is nothing new. Actually, the more revolutionary part is the explosion of nonviolent action across Tibet where it previously was not deemed possible. Nonviolent action does not mean passivity and refraining from using violence, but rather actively using the methods of nonviolence as part of a struggle, and this is the first time since 1959 that nonviolent action has taken a widespread role in Tibet.

  16. We may never be strong enough to be entirely nonviolent in thought, word and deed. But we must keep nonviolence as our goal and make strong progress towards it. Mohandas Gandhi

  17. There are two things that I wanted to comment.

    First, yes, His Holiness is a political figure but don’t forget he is first and foremost a Tibetan. Just like any one who is a Tibetan and has that sore feeling of being banished, he has that too. However, unlike all of us in this discussion, he is far above us in terms of understanding what is at stake right now. Soon chinese will fill up the entire Tibetan land and nothing will be left of Tibet. Who was that talking about not having rinpoches? Don’t worry, in a few years there won’t be. Chinese have set up new rules and the process is now fully regulated. As for we in exile, we have the freedom of following it or not. There is no pressure. However, as for the Dalai Lama institution, it is our faith in the Ganden Phodrang lineage, and if that changes everything else will have to change automatically. But, I want to tell you why I believe the present Dalai Lama is a Buddha of compassion. Right from the beginning and up to now His Holiness has made so many changes in our society that no leader has ever done in history. The feudal society that the Chinese try to tell us about has changed. He made the changes. His vision of keeping the exile community together in settlements and providing exclusive education, reviving monasteries, building institutions all have made us Tibetans what we are today. But, most of all I think his vision has instilled in us a sense of pride of being a Tibetan. We know longer look up to a Han Chinese and give them the liberty to think they are superior. This pride has even filtered inside Tibet. The barbarians have changed. Now, with such visions, and compassion in one person, who says he is not a Buddha? What else is enlightenment? Someone very proudly discusses above that old rituals should be abolished. I agree, but if there is something that is good and helpful why shouldn’t we nourish it? why can’t we make it better and use it and be proud of it rather than be ashamed. My point is, what ever name we give, superstition, orthodox, stupidity or idiots, let us keep one thing in mind that in this day and age every one including you all in this discussion and the writer, want miracles to happen. It may not be sophisticated to acknowledge but we all do want it. even in our daily lives we secretly desire for some miracle. Who knows I might win the lottery? I hope if anything happens to the plane I am flying in, it is saved. Just think of it and you will find many miracles that you want. Does this makes us stupid or superstitious? No. We are human and there are many things we don’t know and have no control over. If this is the reality, how can you say there is no re-birth? To some extent I too feel it is impossible that a new child will be born who will carry the soul of a deceased person, but is there a way to disprove it? And, if a new child is born or just simply picked up and he becomes like the present Dalai Lama who inspires not just tibetan believers but the entire world to live in peace and harmony, I WANT THAT CHILD!

    The second point that I wanted to touch is jamyang’s article. as much as I agree that the incident in tibet is nothing compared to what’s happening around the world, violence is violence. Think of the family of the three dead women. Their family must be devastated. I believe when His Holiness said he would resign after the incident, it must be in this feeling for the three deceased women. As a true Buddhist he would rather let the other person kill him and harm him than do the opposite. But, you are right. we have many years of pain and hatred inside us. Also, remember that we are not the Dalai Lama. We can never be the Dalai lama. So, if there are people who think Tibetan struggle can be better run without the Dalai lama, let them come forward and lead. Thousands of Tibetans world wide are waiting for leadership. Take action, give up everything and start a movement whether it is violent or non-violent it does not matter. There will be people ready to follow. What are you waiting for? See, it is difficult and that is why I say, none of us are Dalai lamas or even close to him. Perhaps, then let us not judge him with our little egos.

  18. To me, the most important part of “nonviolence” is to maintain the principle of justice in all action, and avoid hurting anyone disproportionately to their culpability in the occupation of Tibet and the necessity of the damage to the goal of obtaining independence. Almost no one on this planet is completely innocent in the matter; even if we personally boycott Chinese products, we take part in the economic systems that have supported China. And if we act to disrupt, destabilize, and ultimately bring down the regime in China, we can expect various levels of economic hardship to privileged people like ourselves around the world.

    In my view, having your shop burned and destroyed is a very small injury in comparison to the terrible injury that Chinese settlers have caused to Tibetans by their presence. Whether it’s violent or not, I don’t know, but it’s certainly just and it’s about the only viable way I can think of to reverse the Chinese colonization of Tibet short of either killing all the settlers or obtaining independence and restoring Tibetan as the official language so that they tend leave of their own accord. And Tenzin Tsering pointed out quite directly that Tibetans are NOT hunting down and killing Chinese, or raping or otherwise torturing them for being in Tibet. What Tibetans have done is just about the most peaceful possible, just, and respectful way to accomplish what needs to be done.

    Perhaps all of this is just my words from an outsider who’s too much of an insider at the same time, but I hope it’s at least somewhat representative of how world citizens will look upon Tibet’s struggle if they spend the time to learn the facts and circumstances and try to understand it.


    think AlICIE has to know Jamyang Norbula more in order to understand his articles. As for the reincarnation tradition, at least, I and lots of my friends consider it as a way of transferring political power purely. It has a lot to do with Hinduism. I don’t think anybody who got their education in western believe people can reborn.
    Hahaha…..THere are many westerns who believe in God. Why? From time of beginning of mankind, human beings were hungry and curious to know where they are from, and what is their position in this cosmo. Therefore, for Tibetan Buddhist, this Buddhist metaphysics serves to satiate their inquire into the question of cosmo and human life, at least it is logical and undogmatic. Even has a basis of reducing unethical actions as it will result in lower realms or similar results to oneself. Even though you are educated in the west, you still have a curious mind which is more elusive to your mind than a sort of concret result you got as a result of you are being educated in west. You are trying to prove that you knew everything by studying western education….I think this is a big ego problem, moreover you don’t know much about Tibetan culture and Buddhism.
    I don’t believe Dalai Lama is God or manifestations of Avalokiteshvara, or Chenrezig, Bodhisattva of Compassion, holder of the White Lotus. These elaborated descriptions are purely Hinduism. Are we following Buddha or Hindu Gods?
    The term avalokitesvara is a symbol of enlightened human mind which is the union of wisdom and compassion. who does’t want compassion? Who does’t want wisdom? I think Dalai Lama lived up to the elevated position he is placed. That is important, it is not the name and title important, but the raw action and practice. It the practice somes from either Christians, Hindu, or even Muslim, by that end, the person should be respected. This by no means, no one is forcing you to believe. Just vent anger to your family and your unsettled mind.

    I was very shocked when I heard that Dalai Lama said something like resigning from the political status completely if violence continued in Tibet. I think Dalai Lama himself quite don’t understand the position of the Dalai Lama is a political position practically speaking. It was a political position and the way he was selected was not a miracle. It was not like seeing vision in Lhamolhatso. “I suggest reading the book “Tibet Tibet” by French Patrick. Everything was pre-arrange according to the political system.
    Dalai Lama got his political titled in the year 1642 when he was enthroned as political ruler of Tibet. But his spiritual role even before that. Remember, in 1642, the 5th Dalai Lama was given the title. Therefore, the logic of “PURE POLITICAL POSITION THAT THE Dalai Lama IS HOLDING” only shows your shallowness in the culture, religion, and political system that you are so disgusted with. Regarding Patrich French thing….you read his article in the New York Times in the past few years, you will realize how screwed his way of reasoning. He did not even know or intentionally ignoring the underlying causes of present anti-Chinese Government in Tibet. You should read more, but read with sword of a wisdom to cut through bias, propaganda, lies, deception and then come down to your own conclusion. Don’t simply says, here it says this, then it must be untrue.

    We, new generation of Tibetan, understand our past more than ever now. We are not superstitious as our parents. However, in order to make our parents lives less miserable, we still pray and bow for the picture of the Dalai Lama. We still do follow old tradition for the sake of the unity of our people. But that doesn’t make me to preserve our old Hindu Brahman tradition. In fact, I want to suggest that reincarnation tradition should be stopped now. China is using it against us. In our small exile community, there are thousands of Rinpoche who were just collecting money and praying for nothing. I think those who have Rinpoche title should be banned from getting political position. It has to start from “Lodi Gyari Rinpoche”
    and of coures Samdhong Rinpoche…lots of them. Or they should get rid of Rinpoche Title. These are old and bad tradition which Chinese is using it against us.
    The danger is, when you say “we, new generation of Tibetan”, you are not representing every younger Tibetan generation, at least not me. So, keep this in proper context and represent yourself, not everone! Above, there a lot of gibberish, it needs to addressed indepth. As I said, read more, understand more…..don’t point fingers. The more important is, it does not matter, who is holding the power, the urgent thing is we need to “FUCK” this COMMIES from out HOMELAND—“TIBET”.

    As for the current situation, I think there is only one suggestion. Dalai Lama has to lead the March to Tibet campaign, otherwise, nothing is going to happen. Hundreds of people are dying in Tibet, and we can’t do anything to help them. We gave them false hope to stand against Chinese but all we can do in exile is lip service.
    I shared the same thought of Jamyangla on “Non-Violence is not Non-action. Moreover, Non –violence is standing against violence without violence
    For this one, you need to get answer from Private Office or write to their. Addressed are out there. Our government is democratice even without an actual country, you can criticise them.

    I remember a word by Mao Ze Dong, when China first started repression, he asked what is the reaction of the Tibetans, he got the reply, violent reaction. He then said, “The more violent, the better it is….” Why? I think, there is a pretext to violent crackdown. Same thing happenned this, when Chinese armies in monks rob started torching and beating, people followed, as a result, we are in the trap set up by the CHinese Government, to prove Tibetan are violent. I am not saying, we should not fight, we should fight until one Tibetan is remaining on this earth, but we need to understand where our power relies in this ever changing geo-political situation. My last word is, “Don’t fight with violence if you cannot in that way, use violence if you can annihilate entire FUCKING COMMIES IN THE EAST”.

  20. The Chinese Government & Chinese ultra-nationalists are in an uproar about the very limited violence which occurred mostly in Lhasa on one day on 3/14/08. They ignore the over 50 peaceful protests that occurred in all 3 regions of Tibet. They ignore the reports of over 100 Tibetans killed by Chinese security forces & don’t even call for an investigation of these charges. They ignore that Tibetan monasteries are surrounded 24/7 by Chinese riot police & hundreds of monks have been arrested w/ on probably cause & no credible evidence of any crimes, except mabye refusing to denounce their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. These Chinese ultra-nationalists ignore the 50 years of oppression Tibetans have suffered at the hands of the CCP & wonder why Tibetans want freedom from China. These Chinese ignore the crimes of their own government, while making death threats against anyone who disagrees w/ them.

    These Chinese communists complain about bias in Western media, but say nothing about bias in Chinese media. Just b/c someone disagrees w/ me doesn’t mean it’s biased or erroneous. Just b/c someone doesn’t share your views, doesn’t mean you’re right & they’re wrong. People have opinions. Do only Chinese people have the right to freely express those opinions?

    Now these ultra-nationalist call any Chinese who disagree w/ the Chinese Govt “race traitors” & other words I can’t repeat here. It’s the KKK & Neo-Nazis, you either egree w/ them or you have to shut up. W/ the hate-filled language about Tibetans coming from Beijing, is it any wonder China has failed to win the hearts & minds of the Tibetan people?

  21. Rich

    I don’t see that it’s a war. ‘It’s sad of course’… you are reducing again the violence the deaths.. I really think that there’s a real problem here. It’s no wonder that the whole world can’t understand what’s going on.


    Thanks for replying

    Ok maybe I need to know JN better. I agree with you about reincarnation and Rimpoche’s and the younger generation’s situation, and hey why not the Dalai Lama giving up his robes ? Saying that today is time to change a lot of things, to reform and adapt to modern life, to say what is basic and what is useless ?
    Ok about the DL’s reincarnation (there’s a good video on People’s Daily about him, great old films too)

    And I would even suggest that more of your sort of opinions should be heard because people just don’t know …

    However I don’t think I agree about the DL leading a march into Tibet. And I don’t think there are hundreds dying, of what ? The Chinese revenge ? Please, we need more proof of that. Yes, and why give false hopes to people who don’t realize what it’s like to go to prison ? It’s not really very intelligent.


    It’s always nice to think that people should have liberty to change their beliefs themselves, but to change, they need other imput. They need to have the freedom to read other things to understand that they have been manipulated or exploited, whatever the indoctination is. We westerners can also be fooled very easily by all sorts of foolish ideas, I was too, and we have total freedom, so surely the tibetans should know about that too. And as adults, not indoctrinated from birth, but I think the same for all religions or even political indoctination, no child should be indoctrinated. If someone decides as an adult to believe in a religion or cult or whatever, he is free to do so. We should leave kids’ brains alone, let them grow up without religion. “Freedom of religion” is often not Freedom, that’s the problem.


    It’s what is lacking, people’s real experience and knowledge in these affairs, so many talk without knowing anything about the country. I just wish more tibetans in China could be heard, where are they ? You are saying what others don’t want to hear. You are obviously a precious witness.


    Your comments are very moving, I really feel your level of emotion.

    Ok the DL managed to make good changes in the exiles lives, but also with much outside help. I wonder now if your situation is better (or evolved quicker etc) than those in Tibet ? I would like to know more about that.

    Why do you think that the old system of rimpoches is a pity to be lost ? Don’t you think that they made lives a misery for the majority before ? Do you think that those rimpoches in the west are super models ? What have they done since they invaded our european and american countries living in great chateaux donated by rich folks, their servants who gave up their lives, their families to wash their clothes, have sex with them, pay for their cars and their appartments ? What sort of people are these silly monks with privileges compared to all those struggling to make a living in India or Tibet ?

    As for proof or disproof of children having souls of previous people, I think that because the tibetans made this such an institution, then we know how they cheated and chose poor kids because of various interests. So that’s your proof.

    Other scholars or famous authors have tried to find proof of reincarnation (I used to believe it myself) but in fact they have been debunked.

    No, you can’t ‘WANT THAT CHILD’, my friend, you can’t deny a child his rights, by making him or her (obviously they are always male in buddhism), an object, a possession for political or religious interests. It’s a CRIME. Please reflect on that, a child is a future adult. He is influenced by his childhood. Nobody has the right to steal a person’s life and create it according to some cult or tradition. That is no longer allowed by international law. Unfortunately it is not respected.

    Do you really think that the present Dalai Lama was a happy child ? Did he have a choice ? He later decided perhaps to lead the exiles, but he could have chosen not to. He is not a god, he is a very brave guy, someone else would have gone crazy, become a alcoholic or drug addict with the type of life he has had, he has been solid and continually tried to adapt with time, done the best that he could, but I think, a bit too old to be able to really change his personal beliefs.

    He has done a lot of good, nobody denies that, but seriously, what country today (apart from maybe islamist ones) can possible take a monk seriously, as a political leader against a country like China ? And him with his constitution that for the chinese is a joke.

    Even America, the most religious country of the ‘west’, has refused a religious leader as candidate for the presidency, so imagine countries like France, Scandinavia, Germany etc, Russia, Australia.. All those countries, today,religion is finished, it’s not something that can be political, it’s a private matter, free, but gradually totally eradicated by science and simple critical thinking.

    If on the other hand, as you also say, there is a child who grows up to be a great leader that’s something else. But that’s either the profession of politics or an unusual exception, like in romantic revolutions, Che Guevara etc.

    The real world is different, each country today is trying to survive economically and they don’t think about human rights, they just need contracts, they have to feed the folks at home. And China, like India, like in South America are players that the old continents have to deal with. That is the equation, the problems (or not according to the ¨Chinese) of Tibet or exiled tibetans are just passing entertainement on our TVs, don’t ever think that any country is going to risk their skin. It’s all a game, even if a few things like the olympic games may make a small difference.

    But I think the difference is coming already, all those thousands of chinese demonstrators, students in our western countries, they are going to make the difference in very little time. No need for violence, let things take their course, the world is already changed, just see it for what it is, not for what you dream about. However I also agree, that the simple people can also change history, everyone knows this, it’s what is behind it that counts too, because what you get as a result isn’t always what was intended.

    In France as I speak there is tonight as every day, more and more discussions on TV with better people as guests to give a more balanced view, chinese students, tibetan scholars, victims, monks, nuns, politicians, etc…

    France is in a delicate situation because of the demonstrators in Paris and the chinese who extinguished it to the anger of the athletes. Now the Chinese are boycotting various shops etc.

  22. Wangchuk

    I am aware of the things you are saying. As I said, just tonight, I watched a chat show with prominent people – Paul Ribes, Elizabeth Martens, a tibetan artist, a tibetan scholar, outspoken politiciens ( Melenchon), chinese – and this question was discussed. The brutal backlash, the arrests etc. But as always there was no real proof. Paul Ribes said it was with phone calls and emails that he had received from tibetans that risked their lives by sending them as all was intercepted.

    They showed interviews of dissidents in China, under house arrest.

    It’s still the same problem the media war, who is telling the truth , what is the truth ?

    The chinese abuse is being highlighted and denounced, there’s no problem there. Even those who are pro chinese don’t deny this.

    However, the chinese sources of information like People daily are not necessarily false (except perhaps by emmission)

    For anyone who might understand french, the program can be seen later


  23. Alice, I think you and anyone arguing back with you missed the point of this blog. Jamyang-la reportedly created it for the purpose of discussing issues relevant to advancing the cause of rangzen among a community which has rangzen as its goal. Perhaps it’s instructive for us to see how ignorant outsiders with severely China-influenced misunderstandings of Tibet try to detract from the cause of rangzen with off-topic criticisms of Tibetan society and religion (which, even if they were valid, do not diminish Tibetans’ fundamental right to self-determination), but it’s somewhat distracting and misplaced.

    I suggest you learn Tibetan, go to Tibet, and explain to the people there how backwards you think they are. See what happens. I hope for your sake that the people you meet are not as violent as the world is painting them out to be…

  24. I agree with Rich. In any case, “Teach your children well.” We have a right to teach our children in our own culture, our own religion, our own beliefs. We have the right to decide what it means to teach our children well.

    No doubt they will get other input. That’s great. That’s in the nature of the world today (outside the PRC).

    But freedom to transmit religion and religious/ethical values to our children is one of our most fundamental human rights. It should not be left to states and educational systems to decide for them or for us.

  25. To AlICE

    As I said earlier, we are aware of our dark past but we are aware of China’s past as well. What confused me the most was that Chairman Mao Killed around 100 million of Chinese people (their own people) but Chinese still praise him everyday in front of Tienanmen Square and also in National anthem. Chinese people is still following that “MAO’S RED BOOK” I just don’t understand.
    By understanding China’s past and ours, our Tibetan past is much more peacefully because we believe in Buddhism, not like Chinese believe in Mao the Killer.

    Although, we were effected by religion, but we are very much awake now. By making comparison, I found out that China was much more backward than Tibet. You know where Japanese learned beheading Chinese people, they learned it from Qing Dynasty from Chinese.

    As for the Tibet issue read the article from NYTIMEs here http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/13/opinion/13sperling.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    Now, you claimed the news from People’s daily is credible. That put my mind into question that if you are Chinese. But it really doesn’t matter if you are Chinese are not. What matter is that you need to compare all of the information. We should not be gullible to anything without closed examination. In fact, I don’t believe anything from any government including our own.

    Most of the Young Chinese students think only in one direction. “Popular Chinese scholar said “our younger generations in China are only allowed to have one brain together.

    I watched the documentary called “The gate heavenly peace” it is about Tienanmen Square Massacre, and i was totally shocked. Chinese government called it Riot as well. In the news, Chinese government media like “PEOPLE DAILY,xinhua cctv only showed how Chinese student destroyed and killed Liberation Army. That was exactly what happened in Tibet. Tibetans in Tibet would not have chosen extreme method if their basic lives was threatened.

  26. Not a doubt,Jamyang Norbu is very eloquent in his writing but trully lacks the practicality. He doesn’t live by his preaching words, therefore he lacks moral pricipal as well. Moral pricipal is the guiding force to lead a struggle, and without which one can cause slandering in the society not unity. As a Tibetan I have to say that at ths juncture, we need more unity under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama then division. And JN’s eloquent writings, and in some cases rhetoric speeches even against His Holiness is causing more harm for our struggle then benefit.
    Jamgyang, you have called for boycotting Chinese goods, are you living by that? Can you promise you don’t own a single thing which was made in China? Sorry, I don’t think so.

    Rangzen could be our choice but sometimes we have to learn to sacrifice our choice for the greater good. Besides you have never published any writings on how to achieve Rangzen. Do you really have a blue print? Or you just want to go against His Holiness?

  27. Hello TENZIN(tenzing | April 24th, 2008 | 7:53 am ),
    Voilence, does it have a sort of certain meaning that worldly accepted? or does it means exactly what Buddhism explaines about? We all born as a human man but not as a Buddhist or what ever it is. Buddhism is nothing but a sort of tool for survive!!! we are not slave of Buddhism….. We are fighting for a right to servive but not for sacrifice your life. If so, there is no need you to cry out, because China is the best teacher for you to sacrifice your life and every thing. so, please do think before you say…..

  28. Moral principal and “practicality” are not synonyms but near opposites, my friend. If you abandon what’s right because of “practicality” concerns – maybe you’re too afraid of what might happen if you pursue it, maybe you’re just impatient, or maybe you’re selfish, or maybe you’re trying to avoid certain forms of suffering while tacitly perpetuating others – then it’s open to debate whether you made a good practical decision, but your decision does not have moral principal. Gandhi said this very well in declaring the necessity of doing what’s right as a lifestyle, regardless of whether you have a chance of seeing the fruits in your own lifetime, but sadly I can’t find the quotation offhand.

    This standard criticism of Jamyang as not having concrete action to offer is outdated and misplaced; it’s the people who keep pushing a dead-end path of faux dialogue that have nothing concrete to offer. The best among those calling for dialogue, among them HHDL, genuinely have a respect for people’s fundamental rights and principles of democracy. But the majority of them just want Tibetans to shut up and return to the pre-crisis status quo for another 20 years. That is, they wish to resolve the conflict by convincing Tibetans to accept Chinese domination and oppression silently rather than by changing China. I am sorry to say this, but I truely have zero respect for such people. They are not shaping a better world for the future, only making our world a worse place by asking us to tolerate China’s modus operandi.

    Read some of Jamyang’s previous essays over the past year or two and you’ll see plenty of constructive direction for action. Even this article itself is constructive in that it establishes the talking points and messaging we need to get the media and scholars writing about Tibet to understand and reflect.

  29. Ok Rich, I get the message. And also I see how others think, to a certain extent. I see how it’s a cacophony, that’s ok too.

    I just wish you luck, but now I see better that no one small group will win because you are all divided and want your own ideals to be applied to a country that you don’t know yourself. So saying I should learn tibetan and go is a bit much. I wouldn’t mind going, and it’s so easy today, I just click on a website and order my trip. It’s not true that Tibet is closed to tourists despite the propaganda. (I just did it to test it out, it would simply cost me 2000$, Paris-Lhassa).

    As for me being pro-chinese, sorry but I’m not FOR anyone, or against anyone, I just don’t like blatant lies. All the rest is opinion , politics, corruption, illusion and hopes and desires. Solutions will be found, things will get better, but I doubt that Tibet will ever be independant. At least not in the near future. So why make people’s lives more miserable by trying the impossible ?

    I’ll just give a small example. I was born in England and at 12 I went to Scotland. At the time there was already a great amount of autonomy for each country in Great Britain. Lots of people don’t know this. Historically the Scots don’t like the English. But education, justice, social laws and other things were different. They don’t have the same diplomas, the same laws.

    Then Tony Blair (previous british prime minister) brought in even more autonomy, they have a parliament, and much more that I don’t know about because I went to live at 20 in France. So it’s proof that autonomy in different degrees can work and can even change.

    The Scots never wanted total independance, except for a tiny minority. There are a lot of English living in Scotland especially in the main cities. This doesn’t bother anyone. The Scots still have a national pride and football and rugby teams in their name. It’s the same for Wales and Northern Ireland. (which is a different story because there have been bitter struggles with thousands of deaths, again because of religious, social and political causes) .

    I invite you to check it out on wikipedia.

    I repeat what I said in my first message, I just think that people like JN should use their talent in a more useful way, because raising nationalist spirits today is not ALWAYS fruitful for the people involved. It depends.

    DAN :

    You say its a basic human right, to bring up our kids how we like. Well, yes it is for the moment. It’s my personal opinion that religion shouldn’t be taught to minors. But things might change in the future. The EU are already bringing in a european law to prevent children from being beaten, receiving physical punishment. This is a great step.

    I hope that after the physical, mental and psychological abuse will be addressed, including religious indoctrination. You may call it ethics, but ethics can be taught without irrational beliefs and practises.

    I am a recent atheist, and I suffered from a religious upbringing, I know all about it.


    You are no doubt right too. Tonight our president Mister Sarkozy gave a televised debate and spoke about China and Tibet. Our politicians are over there now. He said that he would try his best to persuade the Chinese to have dialogue with the DL.

    Wait and see hmm ?

  30. Alice, saying you should learn Tibetan is not “a bit much”. It’s absolutely essential. Ordering your little packaged $2000 tour will not tell you anything about what Tibet is like; you need to talk to ordinary people, eat and stay and socialize the places they do, and so on. And you simply must be able to speak Tibetan to do any of this, because the vast majority of Tibetans do not speak English or even Chinese.

    If you’re looking for a lazy way to get something real out of a trip without putting in the effort to learn Tibetan, you at least need to find a proper tour company. I would recommend http://www.yestibet.com/. But the best would be to go on your own. And of course learn the language.

  31. This message is to PALDEN

    You seemed pretty upset by message and you were responding my message emotionally.

    Let me draw a bigger picture so that you understand my points.

    In order to convince the world, in order to gain support from the world, our Tibetan Government has to show the world that this administration is not the same as before 1959.

    Which means our government cannot use those old systems anymore. As I mentioned above–reincarnation, mixing politics and religion and aristocrats“

    I have talked to lots of people and read a lot of books on our own issues. And what I found out that the reason lots of westerners especially High profile politicians are very aware of our past and they just don’t want to restore the old Tibet. That was why I was pointing out our own problems.

    I think this is really a critical point to show that our new government has evolved. Also, I want to say something about democracy. Democracy is not just a voting system. Chinese communist in Chia vote too.

    PALDEN” in my message I was not talking about personal believe in God or not, but I was talking about not to mix personal faith with politics. You can believe in whatever you want personally but as far as politic and public rights is concerned, we have to be very clear of what is fact and what is not. HISTORY ONLY RECORDS FACT.

    I just read an article from our government and I was shocked again

    Our government was playing a role of RELIGIOUS ENTITY. Asking us to pray…..develop good karma.

    Here is the problem. We don’t understand what GOVERNMENT means.
    Our Government was used to be in POTALA or in the monasteries but not anymore right?????

    So stop playing the role of religious



  33. To all
    I want to apologize for writing all of those not directly related to the article information previously. I was just trying to tell AlICE that we new generation of Tibetan are different. However, we are stuck in this twilight zone but we are trying.

    To bhodkidagpo

    There is no doubt that our leader H.H the Dalai Lama has done a great job for our cause. We all Tibetan will love him and respect him forever. However, please do not confuse with our personal level relation and political level.

    You said “I believe the present Dalai Lama is a Buddha of compassion.”
    That really confused me honestly. Were you saying Dalai lama is Buddha or he is a human being with full of compassion or… I don’t get it.

    My point here is that we can believe in whatever we want to. I mean on personal level, I can believe in Super Man too. But lets not confuse it with the fact. The history only records fact.

    That is why i am so worried about our past. Because China is using it against us. In Nepal, Nepalese people believe their King is the reincarnation of Buddha as well. But that is not a fact. I hope you will see the difference.

    There are a lot of obsolete concepts that we Tibetan are still practicing in exile. And we need to change it asap. As you said China is doing that to. That is the problem. The excuse that China used, when they invaded Tibet, was that they wanted to overthrown the feudal system or medieval old system that we were practicing, and save Tibetan from slave owners.

    Our determination to change our past should be faster than China so that we can convince the world that We new generation of Tibet can develop far better than Chinese do in Tibet.

    I found out that it was hard to convince westerners, who understand Tibetan history.

  34. many people including Tibetans are jumping to conclusion too early, even you Jamyang la.
    I am of the view that the media quoted that HH Dalai Lama as having to say his only option if voilence escalates is to resign, however HH private office clearified that His Holiness meant to say if MAJORITY of Tibetans pursue voilence means then he would resign and in the context of present uprising, not a single Tibetan inside Tibet has been reported to take up arms, so there is no qualm that HHDL would resign.

    Therefore DON’T JUST BLOW UP THINGS out of context. Thank you


    You see, we Tibetan are not forced to think only in one direction. We have lots of different opinion. However,we ultimately share one thing which is Tibet belongs to Tibetans. We will work together to get our Tibet back from China.

  36. Alicie,

    YOu write above that you don’t like blatant lies, but you clearly like Chinese blatant lies! It is clear that you are one of those arm-chair leftist “useful idiots” that defend dictatorial regimes from the comfort of democratic freedoms. Clearly, you have lost the plot that the regime you defend here has left you far behind in its capitalist dreams.

  37. You mentioned the need to discuss further the principles behind Gandhi’s theories of non-violence and their applicability to the Tibetan people’s struggle against China. I currently teach a course at the University of Arkansas with a Tibetan monk–Geshe Thupten Dorjee–on the theory and practice of non-violence as exemplified in the careers of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Dalai Lama. So I would welcome such a discussion.

    But one source that is often overlooked, very helpful, and timely is George Orwell’s essay on Mahatma Gandhi. It’s very insightful regarding the overlap of personality and practice–Just what kind of man was Gandhi and how does this affect his practice of non-violence? And it also addresses the feasibility of non-violence against certain kinds of opponents. It’s entitled, “Reflections on Gandhi,” and it’s accessible online at http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/898/.

    And finally, Jamyang Norbu, thank you for your commitment, intelligence, and energy.

  38. Mipham, I think the concern is not over whether there’s an actual chance that HHDL will resign, but the unfortunate reality that his remarks were interpreted as acknowledging China’s accusations that Tibetans have been “violent”. (If you talk about violence “escalating”, that implies there’s already some violence.) The other unfortunate result was leading some people in our movement (both Tibetan and non-Tibetan) to feel ‘ashamed’ of what happened in Lhasa, which both defused some of the motivation towards real solidarity action (I don’t mean SC-style action) and contributed to the development of a “pro-action” versus “stop the crisis” dichotomy within the movement.

    As long as folks practice genuine democratic principles and respect for one another’s rights to disagree, I don’t believe this is a fatal problem, but I think it’s clear that it had some temporary negative effect on the movement for rangzen. Perhaps this sort of issue is what Jamyang-la sought to address and mend.

  39. I have nothing against JM personally, but I don’t want to be fooled by JM’s self-serving motivation and concealing hatred against HHDL and Tibetan government in exile in his writings. I don’t believe Jamyang Norbu is sincere when he writes about RANGZEN and other hot topics about Tibetan struggle, his first intention is to jolt the readers and make his selfish intentions heard by making it sort of “breaking News”. Over long course of his life, he has been addicted to such habits and enjoyed it like Heroin and cocaine.

  40. Rich

    Thanks for your advice. I don’t think I could learn that language at my age. I realize the immense importance of course. (I’m a language teacher :((the same for all countries that don’t speak English, french, spanish or german… or … etc.. ).

    But surely you can get a translator that isn’t totally subordinated to the chinese policy ?

    Hey today, we’ve got on our news, the ‘Great news’, that all the pressure on China’s Gvt, has succeeded, it will finally renew discussions with the DL.. OK , I realize that that’s not your aim, but well, it’s a ‘media coup’.. whatever that will lead to..


    great comments, you understand a lot of things.


    Do you live in Tibet ? Why don’t they have a referandum and ask tibetans in Tibet. I would love to know the results (sincerely).


    Just goes to show how one *deduces* things from a biased point of view, without checking, or simply asking..

    I am not a ‘leftist useful idiot’, because I voted our right -wing president (I did used to be more left but was disappointed).

    I’m obviously an armchair participant for the most of the Tibetan debate today, but I will surprise you perhaps by saying that I practised buddhist meditation for 20 years (theravada), but was first introduced through tibetan. I was present at the opening of the first tibetan center in France in 1974, (Kalou rimpoche, you no doubt have heard of him ?).

    The first ever tibetan center in europe (the west) was in Scotland. A schoolfriend of mine did his preliminaries there for a year and a half and introduced me to buddhism.

    I used to receive the tibetan newsletter for years direct from London, about all the atrocities, the politics, all through the seventies and eighties. So I’m now an armchair reader, but I used to be a practitioner, but gave it up.

    I don’t know your age, but maybe this was all before you were born ???

    I know you are not in the same context (I suppose), but we are supposed to be an international community on the web, we are all learning about each other. I’m learning reading everything from everyone. Including Chinese.

    So to the next point, no I don’t like blatent lies from Chinese. But what has been said several times by various people, is that information on sites like Peoples Daily, is not necessarily lies. They are usually correct. They lie maybe from ommission. That is the problem. (You might not agree, but for the moment, the problem is proof)..

    Next point : you say I’ve ‘lost the plot.. etc.. “. I don’t quite understand, unless you mean that I’ve been conned because of chinese capitalism.

    What I’ve been saying all along this whole debate, here and elsewhere is simply that the propaganda is from your camp aswell as ‘their’ camp. You are the ones who influence our medias, you and the DL, and the ‘faithful’ in the centers, the groups, Hollywood, the politiciens, you are the ones that are giving extraordinary statistics that can’t be proved, that are mathematically wrong. So please, give me a break, I’m a pretty fair person, but I see that you are confirming everything I think.

    I think you need to do a bit more research, get out of your cyber armchair and go and read the commentaries on different media sites, get an idea too of what people think, they’re not totally sheep, not all the time. And even visit Tibet, why not China, hey why not the whole world, Africa.. Latin America, see how they live too.. it’s a big wide world.. We can all go and visit, not just from our armchairs.. (ok depends on our currency.. etc.. )

  41. I think we Tibetan are lost now. Are we after our country or just the approach how we get it.
    Does not matter how you get it as long as you can get it back. Non-violence approach is for civil-right movement only. Wake up.

  42. I totally agree with Lama. No matter how different our opinion are,there is only ultimate goal which is FREE TIBET. Tibet was not part of China and will never be part of China.

  43. Alicie, of course there are plenty of interpreters who are not Chinese agents; in fact the tourism/guide business really draws Tibetans who want to reach out and tell foreigners about their situation, so you’re likely to hear even stronger things from them – IF they trust you. But regardless, the experiences of going around with an interpreter and interacting with people yourself are completely different. The fact that you’re communicating through an interpreter will severely filter the kind of communication you can participate in quite a lot.

    It’s important to realize that Tibetans in Tibet cannot generally trust other Tibetans. The number who are paid agents of the Chinese government is small, but the risk is so high that no interpreter will want to talk openly about issues with every random person you meet on the streets, in restaurants, in bars, etc. If your interpreter is a Tibetan who is a foreign national, the risk of physical danger to them is extremely low, but the risk of losing permission to do business in Tibet is very high, so you can’t really ask them to help you discuss sensitive topics either. Likewise, anyone you meet will likely be unwilling to risk their own safety by trusting your guide.

    Aside from all this, the social dynamic is just completely different when you’re being lead around by someone Tibetan versus when you’re able to interact with people on your own. And that’s not to mention the level of trust you’ll be given yourself.

    I could go on and on about this, but the basic point is just that if you want to communicate with people in a society where communication is dangerous, you must be able to communicate directly one-on-one and you must demonstrate respect for them and the circumstances they’re under.

  44. Alice, I’d also like to address your accusations of “extraordinary statistics that can’t be proved, that are mathematically wrong”. The number of Tibetans who have been killed in Tibet since March 10, 2008 is definitely over 100. I have in my possession an old list of names, dates, and locations of death for around 50 of them and could get updated lists if I needed to. We also have photos for many of those killed or arrested. This data comes from only a few of the roughly 60 localities where protests took place, and it’s nearly certain that the actual number killed is much higher. My personal estimate for the death toll is anywhere in the range 150-2000; the minimum is based on the concrete reports of killing we have, and the upper end is based on the number of confirmed arrests made under circumstances where extreme violence against those arrested is likely.

    Of course “can’t be proved” sounds like a fair accusation to an outsider like yourself, but not to someone at the heart of what’s going on. These reports do not come from nameless phantoms but from close friends, immediate relatives of friends, and so on. On a couple occasions I heard the protests live over the phone.

    I agree that there are a lot of stupid politicians, career lobbyists, reporters, Buddhist proselytizers, movie stars, and so on who don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to Tibet. These same ignorant people are the ones who keep telling the world “Tibetans don’t want independence!” right after showing video of monks in Tibet yelling “ngatso tsantho rangzen go!” So if you have a complaint against these people, go tell it to them, not us.

  45. First of all I thank you for writing this thought provoking article. It made a lot of Tibetans to think and reflect on their cause. That is exactly what we need to do: think, reflect and see if our struggle is going into the right direction.

    Looks like AP has misquoted His Holiness the Dalai Lama. What His Holiness actually said was “if things get out of control, I will seek complete reassignment”. By this, His Holiness is trying to restrain the anger of the Tibetans, hoping that a few more Tibetans’ life would be saved. His Holiness has been very cautious in dealing with the Chinese brutality. As you can see his statement released on 16 March, in which he has expressed his appreciation to the Tibetan people’s non-violent protest inside Tibet and also expressed his concern to the killings inside Tibet.

    He has not been very forthright when condemning the Chinese, although His Holiness did censure the Chinese earlier on by saying that “whether intentionally or untentionally some form of cultural genocide is taking place inside Tibet”. Because of this there was a backlash from the Indian foreign minister, who reminded His Holiness that “he is a specail guest in India, and is not allowed to engage in any kind of political activities”. His Holiness and the TGEI are cornered and presurised from all sides by the Indian government, who are in turn pressurised by the Chinese government.

  46. I agree with you Jamyang la. I am 28 years old & fully energized to shout for free Tibet but sometimes I am kind of frustrated when his holiness speaks only on Buddhist version. How far we have to be saint? How far we have to tolerate China? How far we have to live in exile? When will our dream (My owwn country : Free Tibet)come true?

    I dont think we will achieve our goal by following buddhist philosophy. We have FULL RIGHT to grab back our country without applying any condition as how mother has right to own her child.

    I just wish….I just wish…I wish….some changes in Tibet’s freedom struggle without any condition by anybody of our respective leaders. Tibetans are always peace loving people till now and I think they are still and they will be in future.

    My friends, never give up!! get up! rise up! grab our country back! use your best idea…..there is nothing wrong to do so coz’ its our RIGHT!!!

    FREE TIBET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  47. Lama, Sangpthelay

    I sympathize, and I don’t know your ages, and I’m very sorry but I really don’t think that Tibet will get independance, neither in your life or in the next 😉

    As you most likely have only one life, don’t waste, it.

    Who knows what will happen in the future ? Maybe China will have a period of civil unrest, wars, and will break up like the previous USSR. It only took a few years. But for the moment China is not in the same state as in ussr in 1989, so no I see no hope from that point of view. There are experts that work on the future so how can I tell, but I think from what I can see, the whole Tibetan region is so little populated, and China is so huge and is pumping tons of money into it that they’re not going to suddenly say ‘bye, bye’.. ‘be happy’, ..

    You can’t suddenly change a continent that has never known anything other than monarchies or dictators. Look at Russia today. They still feel the need of a dictator even if Putin pays lip service to democracy.

    China’s leaders will change, there will be change for the better, they simply will never be able to be isolated as before. There will be pressures that they can’t ignore. The war is and will be for a time, technological, with the difficult task of controlling information. If Google and Cie are playing along for the moment, it’s only temporary. At thirty, you are already old in the world of IT. The Chinese are masters they are taking over, they will decide, not their 70/80 yr old something leaders. The elite youth are in are western universities, they’re not going to go back and accept youtube censureship !

    The other problem is trade. Things like unions, that our western countries don’t want, when the Chinese allowed them.

    Well, I’m a natural optimist, who knows, it might not turn out like we predict.

    If the DL goes back and says ‘trade in your prayer wheels for computors, monks and nuns just for holidays, work more, earn more’, I dunno, ‘I’m here, take a photo, love me, leave me, I’m impermanent, my successor will be chosen by a mixed panel of judges, from free candidates (adults)’.

    ha, ha, my imagination is on overdrive.


    Thanks for the detailed info. I said before that I know that it’s much better to know the language. It’s just that I don’t have any motivation or reason to learn Tibetan. I’m not going to Tibet as far as I know, I wouldn’t mind, but even if I did, I would be a very ordinary tourist, I’m no longer interested in buddhist stuff, I don’t believe in it, been there done that, I have seen too much hypocrisy.

    As for the notion of Tibetan nationalism or political /social situation, there are loads of people who do speak it so can go and bring back information. I would like to read that info, but from people who don’t make biased documentaries, just ordinary folks, neutral minded. If you know some good sites, give me the links.

    I saw a few videos on youtube that were from a tourist that was very pro-tibet, but in fact his videos (IMO) showed the opposite of what he was saying. Plenty of free religious practise, a scene in a street in Lhassa where there was a heated incident with a crowd and an official. He wanted to make out that it was a policeman, but a commentary said that it was just someone who checked the licences for the people who sold things in the street. This guy was making out that it was a proof that tension was there last year for the recent riots.

    I listened to another audio clip from a guy who tried to explain that the riots could also be explained by the fact that tibetans get a considerable financial allowance that enables them (some) to live without working. So they hang about in the streets and sometimes there are incidents.

    In fact the video of the crowd with the ‘policeman’ seemed to fit this explanation, as there were lots of youngish men or youths hanging around then started arguing and then getting violent. Others, just passed by with shopping bags, couples etc. They didn’t seem to be involved, they were like anyone. I’ll try and find the video, if you don’t know it.

    For your post on statistics, I did read an article on peoples daily that addressed this list (or ‘a’ list), that was given by the gvt in exile. They said that they tried to check the names.

    Can you say anything about that ?

    If you have reliable data, surely you can transmit it to the paper, they have a contact. You could publish this elsewhere to make sure your publication is known about. Why don’t people like you who say you have proof or at least things like photos etc, this is what is needed by medias that discuss these things.

    Your estimate is worrying, please if you have real info, give it (if you’re not doing that already).

    Another point of ‘mathematically wrong’ comes from the info that says more than a million tibetans were killed when there weren’t many more inhabitants at the time.. Perhaps you can give a better explanation for this. This is certainly one of the major points that the pros and cons argue about.

    The same thing with the info repeated hundreds of times that the tibetan are a minority, whereas you can also read that it’s only in Lhassa, and also that many chinese go back to China after a while.

    I mention this because one of our best magazines have done a Tibet cover subject last week and with the numerous articles, they even contradict themselves LOL.

    BTW, while talking about that, as I’ve got an expert right here, can you confirm what one of those articles said : that the chinese complain that they can’t really rely on top ‘cadres’ (CEOs), as even though they have tried to get their loyalty through elite schooling, huges wages, nice living conditions, etc, they will still do their morning joggings in secret along a ‘forbidden’ circuit, (aroung the potala ?), and have ‘forbidden’ photos of the DL.. etc.

    Is this just silly journalism or truth or ‘near truth’ ? 🙂

    Going back to your message where you say :

    “These same ignorant people are the ones who keep telling the world “Tibetans don’t want independence!” right after showing video of monks in Tibet yelling “ngatso tsantho rangzen go!” So if you have a complaint against these people, go tell it to them, not us.”

    That is one of the problems for me and also others who are more ‘pro-chinese’, in their criticisms, is why do we always have the monks on films and never anyone else ? Why should we be led to think that the whole tibetan problem only concerns monks and nuns ?!! Surely they don’t have the same problems as the majority ? why should religion be the only mediatic subject ?? That’s the problem!

    Personally I don’t much like monks, and especially buddhist monks because they are more parasitic than other religious monks. I don’t know how they live in Tibet today, what is their income, but at least christian monks have had to earn their living for ages.

    So I particularly resent our medias when they only show the Tibetan problem by showing monks. I automatically think, pffff, they’re still in their middle age practises… what can you expect ?

  48. Alice, I’m sick of your ridiculous stretches. Learn Tibetan and go to Tibet to find these things out for yourself, or else shut up. You have no business making claims about Tibet when you have no personal knowledge of Tibet and obviously have some vendetta against Buddhism. I am not Buddhist and don’t care what you think about Buddhism, but I do resent that you’re on a quest of defamation against Tibetans’ legitimate struggle for their fundamental political rights.

    When you first said you were an optimist, I laughed, since you’d just rambled on and on about how you’re so sure Tibet will not get independence in your lifetime. But then I realized that you WANT for Tibet to remain under China, for some bizarre reason. So please, go mind your own business and shut up. Quit being another brick in the great wall.

  49. Regarding the issue of the media “only showing monks” protesting, yes, BBC is generally stupid like that and has been implying for years that “Tibetan” is a religious group comprised of monks rather than a nationality. However, anyone who has actually followed the sequence of events in Tibet will know that the majority of protesters are not monks. Here’s one of the best videos:


  50. Jamyang la, firstly thank you for your writeup. I think His Holiness did right thing to announce that he is going resign in the wake of Lhasa riot (sorry you prefer calling it revolution). I think His Holiness was speaking in the context of Tibetans being buddhist and resorting to violence. His Holiness’ statement further strengthen his non violent approach especially in the eye of international communities. Of course, I can see your point but to a lesser degree than what i think. Please keep on writing. Your writeups are always interesting and sometime thought provoking.
    Tsering Lhakpa

  51. let focus on what we do to bring China to its kneel. If Tibet resorts to violence, there is nothing wrong to that, Tibetan will resort to any means to reclaim their land, at some in the near future when the going is getting tough.

  52. To ALICE

    Soviet Union had collapsed and China Republic will collapse soon. China took Tibet just like Soviet Union did to lots of countries. But those period are gone now. Lots of countries around Russia are freed. It is time for Chinese to give back Tibet to Tibetan, as Mao promised. Mao said it was time for Chinese to help Tibetan. But now it is time for Tibetan to help Chinese from Communist. FREE TIBET and FREE CHINA

  53. May I make a suggestion concerning the power of words, and the responsbility that should be accepted and exercised when discussing Tibet. Take for example the recent demonstrations inside Tibet, communist China (note: not simply ‘China’) was keen to describe the political protests of Tibetans as ‘riots’.

    I have noticed here too that some are using this term and would like to appeal to Tibetans and their supporters not to repeat, this very loaded and specific description, which suits only those who wish to denigrate or distort the courageous actions of Tibetans inside Tibet during March and April of this year.

    A riot tends to lack any politial motive, is associated with a violent eruption of some sort, hence its association with drunken mobs, European football fans, or the socially deprived underclass.

    Tibetan protesers, on-the-other-hand, were enaged in political protest, with clear objectives for national liberation and human rights. Can we therefore not misrepresent those patriotic sacrifices by using inappropriate and slanted descriptions. Merci 🙂

  54. Yo all.
    Please check this video.

    I think nbc asked H.H the Dalai Lama a lot of questions but none of the questions that H.H responded correctly especially when he was asked “Resign from what? Dalai lama? and He said Tibetan struggle.


    people watch and judge yourself.

  55. Tsering, please listen to Jeff’s comment about the meaning and power of words. You might also read some modern history of Tibet, to see that a large part of the active struggle inside Tibet for the past 50 years has been violent. Tsering Shakya and Mikel Dunham would be good sources.

    In talking about Tibet, I believe there’s a lot of confusion about what “non-violence” means, especially in how it relates to “Western” support for Tibet. Contrary to what a few hippies and movie stars would have you believe, there is not so much a Western value on non-violence as there is on justice and effectiveness. I would go so far as to say that Western respect for Tibet’s cause derives more from the fact that Tibetans have not committed acts that are cruel or grossly unfair to Chinese, than from the false belief that the struggle has always been non-violent.

    However, while there’s been a lot of Western respect for Tibet’s cause throughout recent decades, there’s been extremely little respect for the struggle due to a perception that it is ineffective and unrealistic. The obsessive commitment not just to nonviolence, but also to an incorrect view that nonviolence requires passivity and non-action, is the primary factor in this.

    Being American myself and living in America, I talk to a lot of Americans about Tibet. Responses are mixed, but almost always when I encounter someone who’s unsupportive, the reason is not that they’re pro-China, but that they believe the struggle is futile because of an insistence on being passive and ineffective.

    The events since March 10, 2008 have radically changed that reality and have the potential to open up a whole new sort of movement if they’re framed properly – not a violent movement, but a movement which is built on concrete cost and damage to the Chinese occupation. This is why I believe what Jamyang has written is so important – people within the movement need to be talking about this as a tearful-yet-glorious moment in Tibetan history, not as something shameful. If you’re ashamed at the most effective thing your people have ever done against Chinese rule, then I’m afraid the world will forever laugh at your struggle as committed-to-ineffectiveness.

  56. Sangpo, I totally got you before and even agree with your response. From your previous post, I got the meaning as such that “Religion, especially Tibetan Buddhism” is not much meaning and you wrote in a demeaning way. You proved it in a way that western education helped in taking this religous shell off and now it seems you are fully progressive. I think such demeaning is not good even if you do not believe in karma. But you had to respect others belief. Your later post is completely making sense and I have been having such a view. However, this view should not be meaning demean the “spirituality/religion”.

    The part you mentioned in second post, “many western politician wary Tibetans restoring the old government”. I think this is paranoid which is generated by “too much” Chinese propaganda which trying to use this as excuse and thus justify their so called “progressive rule or occupation in Tibet”. Come on, restoring early system is impossible and we will never do it. By writing this, I just an article by Chinese Government titling “Exile Government is the same Theocratic Government”, but not knowing their own is a stalinist dictatorial regime that does not attach importance to human life!

    It is good and read and read…but sometimes, we need to do what is best for us as people and nation can sustain this struggle until we rise to the place from where we fell off. We need to know what is the bloodline for us…not just the short term, but in the long run (This does not mean I am saying religion and politics should be kept together). We have a very unique, yet a very difficult situation to break away. Anyway, we need a government that instill our sense of Tibetan identity into our kids, provide education, guidiance, and making good policy, and also open to different opinions. I myself came from Tibet, educated in India, and then in the US. I think we have improved a lot. As compared to our parents generation, we not only have a sense of Tibetan, but also have a better education which makes even stronger.

    Keep writing….that also helps

    Bog Gya Lo

  57. Somehow this seems appropriate:

    “Cowardice asks the question – is it safe?
    Expediency asks the question – is it politic?
    Vanity asks the question – is it popular?
    But conscience asks the question – is it right?
    And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.”
    -Martin Luther King, Jr.

  58. Assuming HH is no longer with us…
    It’s fearful sometimes, the boldness with which we consume ourselves to the never ending jargons of Rangzen , might ultimately lead us into a journey of self-destructive ending – a race that will not stop with a ribbon and a trophy in the end but a precipice that will lead us into total annihilation.
    And how ready are we all to jump off the precipice if that should be the casting-of-the-dice? Or will the candidates for the lotus position will resurrect from the unknown and lead us all to, yet another realm of hope? Or will we still be basking under the glorious words of defiance by Jamyang la?
    The most iconic and heart wrenching experience is to endure the humiliation of the Chinese rejecting
    H. H’s willingness to talk despite of our nakedness to sacrifice Independence.
    ….and the killing spree in Tibet still continues.

  59. Hi,Paldenla
    Thanks for your response. Yes, I was kind of cruel to show how bad it went in the past by mixing Religion and Politics. We should not afraid to look back our history and our past no matter how bad it was. Once we know it, we can uplift our heads and move forward, make a new history by not making the same mistakes. I am sure we are ready to show the world that we new generation of Tibet are ready to build a new Tibet if world support us to get Tibet back from China.

  60. BTW, Jamyangla
    As you talked about our original National flag and anthem are different from the current one on Sunday. Could you please provide me some information on that. I mean if you could, please let me know where I can find it or suggest me some books on that.

    Thanks Jamyangla. Again, your speech was really powerful and very inspiring.

  61. Rich

    So what is your business, in Tibet ? American, living in america, not even buddhist, how come you think you are the best for those living in their countries ?

    As for the BBC documentary, I’ve watched it and find the stuff written on the petition against it totally stupid, they talk about sterilisation of women when we see that women are still puppets of tradtion, obliged to marry several men, obviously having several children, and the petitioners say that the BBC are pro-chinese, etc, etc.. Nuts, in fact you are all nuts..

    It’s obvious by the documentary that life is the same, except for electricity, telephone, hospitals (not the best), sewage, transport, roads, etc.. that’s a bit different from 50 yrs ago !!!

    But as for changing the superstitious mind, the beliefs and traditions, the chinese haven’t changed anything. Forced mariages, with 90% rural farms and 1 out of 10 child deaths and 50% illiterate, while all those pro ‘free tibet’, say that they can’t speak their own language !

    you are all a crazy lot, I see more how why the DL has never had any serious support, because, you are all nuts, you can’t agree among yourselves and you just want to serve your selfish ideas, you don’t give a damn about the people in Tibet or elsewhere.

    The BBC documentary is bloody good, and there are no bad commentaries on Youtube so that’s the proof ! ha, ha

  62. Alice, you’re making yourself look more and more spiteful and just plain stupid. Either find a legitimate source of knowledge (people actually from Tibet and preferably people still there, or at least a legitimate scholar who has treated such people as his/her primary source) or back off and pursue some other issue you’re prepared to devote the proper attention to. Railing on with hate speech (accusations of backwardness, etc.) against a people you know nothing about is not becoming. If you went around making such broad and ridiculous claims about Africans or Jews or indigenous peoples in America you’d probably find yourself in a heap of social trouble.

    I agree that much of that petition was “nuts” and written by someone who has little idea what contemporary Tibet is like, but that doesn’t refute the claim that BBC has provided very misleading coverage of Tibet for decades. I’d be interested to hear what claims people make about the UK Foreign Office being a “sworn enemy of Tibetan independence” and the basis on which they’re made. It’s not a topic I know much about.

  63. prof.jamyang lak,
    i must be happy to read your wonderful articles and i should pray your further writings. it inspired me alot. i will be always eager to read your upcoming articles and seriously i will build myself a strong will out of your writings.

  64. You have every right to express what you want to express. We are not living in feudal Tibet anymore.
    The Dalai Lama cannot throw a temper tantrum and say that he is going to resign just because things are not going his way. That is very infantile. He has to take into consideration the sentiments and aspirations of the whole of the Tibetan Diaspora and especially inside Tibet. He can’t just be concerned about his reputation and his religion and moral principles. If the Tibetans want independence he has to deliver independence or at least try even if it means going against his religion or philosophy.

  65. Thank you Jamyangla for the information.

    Even our national flag and anthem are so connected with Tibetan Buddhism(Hinduism). I personally think we need a new flag and national anthem in the future. The National flag and anthem should not present our religion. If we have to include religion, it must include all the religion. Otherwise, It won’t be fair to Tibetan who have different belief or none.

    Also, Jamyangla, I would like to know if Tibet has a constitution. I know our old system was pretty much like Nepal’s God king system in the past, but i am sure in exile,we must have made one i suppose.

  66. Sangpo,
    It is funny that you are western educated Tibetan, but you don’t even know how to do research on your own, just asking and asking information from people….I think everything about Tibet is splashed across the internet.

    Do some researches….. I smell something every bad since few days…


  67. I think Dalai Lama just want to be a celebrities, preaching his simple and naive idea “to find happiness.” He can not even save one person in Tibet. If Dalai Lama wants to resign, he must resign from the Dalai Lama position, not just political struggle. He just can’t take the good part of being Dalai Lama and not taking the responsibility. Without the political status of Dalai Lama, he is just an another monk.

  68. I think what we need is a reformation.Delaying it or avoiding it can cause a revolution which will seriously destroy our country. Look at the history ” French Revolution, China’s culture revolution..etc

  69. Jamyang Norbu, your thoughts are inspiring and also not so much. Everyone has the right to their own opinion like many people here stated. I am very happy to see your work toward Tibetans Independence. I hope you continue to work for Tibetan Independent with pure heart. TIBET is for TIBETAN, and I am glad we are all on the same track. But I do disagree with you when you criticize H.H Dalai Lama or Tibetan Govt. in exile. H.H has talked and mainly worked a lot for the cause of Tibet. He had given us an identity in this world. Many people are suffering in the world not just Tibetans. People in Africa, Middle East, Also inside China. But right now we have many Tibetan supporters in the West. And I think we gained that because of H.H work.

    LETS not get off track, our fight is with the Chinese government and LET’S keep it that way. LETS BOYCOTT MADE IN CHINA. Moa Tsedong said “attack the weakness of the person”. China’s weakness is the economy, lets attack there economy. LET’S tell our friends and family, pressure our state legislatures to minimize CHINESE import in AMERICA.


  70. ALICIE,

    One hundred years ago, nobody would have believed that a small and long-oppressed nation which had lost most of its native culture and language…and which had risen up against the largest and most powerful Empire the world had seen up to that point….nobody would have believed that such a nation could ever regain its freedom and sovereignty. And yet today there is such a nation known as Ireland in the English language, and Éire to those of us who still speak the native language.

    So, if the Irish could do it, half-way assimilated to English civilization and culture, then surely the Tibetans can do it.

    You think that modern China is somehow more permanent or stable?

    Let me quote the Irish martyr Patrick Pearse: “What if the dream becomes reality?”

    Remember, the Irish didn’t win independence from the English when the British Empire was collapsing, but during a time when it was very strong, economically powerful, and ruled hundreds of millions of people around the globe.

    We never gave up the dream and never quit because of dark days when no one listened to our cries. And our dream is reality now.

    So, ALICIE, you should stand with Tibetans in their struggle for freedom. Otherwise you have made the tacit choice to take the side of their oppressors and shall in time be judged accordingly.

  71. Hugh

    I still have an old album of ‘the Rifles of the IRA’ Wolf tones, and loved the song ‘Patriot Game’, I used to be in a folk group, even met Eddie Fury and finbar.. if that rings any bells.

    Later I learned that it wasn’t politically correct to talk about those songs :-))

    As for a comparison between Ireland and Tibet, .. you might think there are similarities but you would have to name them concretely. I don’t see many. And it was not a war with the ‘whole British Empire’, it was a guerilla war, for a time, but a process concerning autonomy, or independence that lasted for many decades. The whole history of Ireland is so complex that even british (or irish ?) haven’t a clue.

    The elements that I see might be similar: different ethnical groups, religion, internal divisions, famines, a bad repression that led to patriotic support..

    The differences are numerous.

    I think that it would be very dangerous to try to influence tibetans that Ireland could be an exemple.

    Anyone can read all about it on Wikipedia. But many people in England remember the bombs in trains, in their post, the fear.. Most people today know about the Ulster troubles not the independence stuggles.

    Today Ireland is thriving and has lots of immigrants. But for a very long time, even till the 90’s, the Catholic church ruled through the governments, divorce, contraception, (still abortion) was forbidden. It was considered as a very backward country. So it’s only in the last few years that with the enormous help from the European Union it has emerged as a modern and thriving country.

    We could compare that to Tibet, in effect, the religious hold over people, and the money pumped into the country..

    As for who you are, a catholic ? Not a communist, IRA obviously, but I don’t wish to judge your beliefs.

    I am not, as some on this blog have thought, a ‘pro-chinese’, even less a ‘spy’ LOL, I am not against Tibetan independence, Not at all. I just say, and think that it’s not for the near future and that it’s counter-productive to cause riots, that people will be imprisoned and badly treated, (less than before, but .. )… For me the tibetans in exile are maybe worse off today than many in Tibet. But India is also growing, and if Tibetans can get it together a bit better, why shouldn’t they benefit ? People need to be more honest, more pragmatic and get a real leader that’s not a monk !

  72. Alice, if you really think Tibetans in India are “worse off” than in Tibet, how do you explain thousands fleeing across the world’s most dangerous mountain range every year? Do they subject themselves to frostbite, starvation, gunfire from Chinese soldiers, and rape by Nepalese border patrols just for fun?

    I’m really sick of your constant implication that Tibetans are “backwards”. If you ask me, western Europeans who still hold onto these 19th-century colonial views of other peoples are the ones who are living in the past. Take your superiority complex and shove it.

  73. I’d like to know how many go back to Tibet, and I’d like to know all the profils of those going to Nepal. Are there any statistics online ? The only significant witness I saw was a young girl who said she went, alone to Nepal because her place in a High school was SOLD by the corrupt headmaster to another pupil. She knew she would get free high school in India.

    This is therefore not a case of chinese brutality, chinese torture etc.. I don’t see why the real profiles of all those thousands that go to Nepal are not known and published.. by exiles, by Nepalese, I dunno. Where is the freedom of information ?

    In the BBC documentary, they said that financial help (this was 2005/6 was less, and therefore lots of poor people could,n’t earn a living and sought to go abroad.

    It’s all very well to make people think that it’s always the poor monks and nuns that are fleeing (that maybe the case), but omit to say who the others are and the exact situations.

  74. Ok folks let’s take a very brief thumb-nail glimpse at Ireland and Tibet, to see if indeed there are parallels, bearing in mind of course that no anology is ever completely perfect. But hey maybe there are common strains, so here goes, with no apologies to academic historians.

    Ireland, an independent country complete with its own language, governance, legal syatem, culture and history was invaded by England under the banner of the so-called Earl Strongbow and a Norman-Cambro (Welsh) force, in the 12th Century

    Ireland was subject to a policy of deliberate population transfer as an act of political agression , but more importantly in an effort to ‘Anglicise, in the sense of imposing the state religion of England)

    The culture of Ireland, language, religion, customs were targetted as unwelcome expressions of nationalism. In effect to be Irish in Ireland invited very unwelcome attention.

    The natural resources of Ireland were eventually (by the 18/19th Century) to become thoroughly exploited by the occupying power (England) to the extreme economic disadvantage of the Irish themselves. A fact that realized the most harrowing trauma during the Great Famine.

    Despite the occupation, tyranny and suppression Ireland and its people maintained a distinct sense of Irish identity and retained for generations the hope of a free Ireland.

    During the 19/20th Century Ireland was the oppressed subject of an overwhelming military power, England at that time being a leading World nation, economically.

    The late 19th and early 20th Century witnessed in Ireland, the emergence of a freedom movement that aspired for an independent nation, and engaged in a bloody-war-of resistance against the occupying English forces.

    I will leave others to contemplate, in more detail, possible similarities beween the role and influence of Michael Collins and Gombo Tashi Andrutsang. Suffice to say both were patriots, national heroes and brilliant guerilla strategists.

    Having forced, through an armed campaign, the English Government to negotiate, the Irish found themsleves being presented with an ultimatum by England, accept the division of Ireland, in which Englad keeps control of the majority of the North, or its total war.

    Even this superficial sketch is enough to suggest interesting echoes between the experiences of Ireland and Tibet. Perhaps that explains the comments of Frank Aitken, Ireland’s UN Ambassador, during the 1959 UN General Assembly debate on Tibet.

    “Looking around this assembly, … I think how many benches would be empty in this hall if it had always been agreed that when a small nation or a small people fall in the grip of a major power no one could ever raise their voice here; that once there was a subject nation, then must always remain a subject nation. Tibet has fallen into the hands of the Chinese People’s Republic for the last few years. For thousands of years, … it was as free and as fully in control of its own affairs as any nation in this Assembly, and a thousand times more free to look after its own affairs than many of the nations here.”

    Clearly some deep resonance and undertanding is reflected in those words, drawn from Ireland’s own bitter history of foreign occupation.

    As to other connections or shared experiences between Tibet and Ireland, that is best felt, rather than intellectually extrapolated, most appropriately beween the Tibetans and Irish, both of whom have a unique and ancient heritage.

    The last word, I will leave to Arthur Griffiths founding father of Sinn Fein, when choosing a title for the then fledgeling organisation decided upon a term, which in English translated roughly as ‘Ourselves Alone’. A sentiment Tibetans know all too well, in an indifferent and cynical world. Another similarity perhaps?

    Jeff O’Buadaigh

  75. Rich, I note you seem to be possessed of the erroneous idea that women inside Tibet are not subject to forced sterilisations. This view is that peddled by the Communist Chiese Regime.

    There is a waelth of detailed testimony, medical evidence, witnessed statements, offical Chinese documents that reveal that Tibetans are indeed subject to the traumas of coercive birth control. This harrowing issue was most recently (March 2008) featured in the British television documentary, ‘Undercover in Tibet’ (Channel Four). See the extract at:


    As to the subject of the UK Foreign Office, the subject is most detailed, as an introduction may I suggest you obtain a copy of ‘Tibet the Facts’ by Paul Ingram.

  76. Jeff

    “As to other connections or shared experiences between Tibet and Ireland, that is best felt, rather than intellectually extrapolated, most appropriately beween the Tibetans and Irish, both of whom have a unique and ancient heritage.”

    This is silly bla bla bla. The Irish don’t have a ‘unique and ancient heritage’. They come from various origines including English and Scots, spanish, norse, normand, etc..

    As for ‘felt’ instead of ‘intellectual’, no, today we wish to be in a rational scientific world, not an ultranationalist, extreme religious, nor extreme political (right or left) world. This doesn’t work and causes wars, deaths, brutality, extreme social situations etc.

    As for histories of countries, please, if we continually talk of ’12th’ century stuff, .. why not iron age, bronze age ?

    Yes, the documentary was discussed earlier, and also the polemic around the ‘petition’, I think you should read Rich’s comments (and mine). So your opinion might not be so ‘partial’.. ok ?

  77. @Alicie

    ‘This is therefore not a case of chinese brutality, chinese torture etc.. I don’t see why the real profiles of all those thousands that go to Nepal are not known and published.. by exiles, by Nepalese, I dunno. Where is the freedom of information ?’

    Your Holiness Alicie, how about going to Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) and Tibetan Homes Foundation and finding out yourself from the hundreds of students who have walked from Tibet out of poverty and out of CHINESE BRUTALITY, directly or indirectly. Wait, directly! And get sorted with this ‘freedom of information’ you are asking for. And if your Holiness still want the statistics, I don’t know where to link you because I know better than looking for them online.

    May you find compassion and love whilst you look for your online statistics.

  78. Jeff, I didn’t mean to imply that I dismiss reports of forced sterilization. If my words could be interpreted that way I sincerely apologize.

    In regards to the aforementioned petition, my concession that it’s “nuts” was based on several aspects:
    – extremely excessive argumentation unlikely to be interesting or convincing to the petition target
    – barely addressing the demand at all
    – no effort to make the petition recipient consider the benefits of complying with the demand
    – being way too long for people signing it to actually confidently stand behind each and every point made
    – anonymous authorship (are you perhaps the author?)

    In hindsight, using the word “nuts” was inappropriate and I apologize for that. But I still think it’s an extremely poor example of a petition.

    With regard to the issue of forced sterilization and abortion, sadly there is very little good documentation. I honestly have no idea whether it continues to this day or not, since I have never (knowingly) met a victim or seen contemporary testimony. This does not lead me to believe it’s stopped, only that the organizations who should be providing credible reports with dates, names of villages, names of officials, etc. are too busy with conspiracy theories (see Jeff’s article at http://www.fantompowa.net/Flame/tibet_info_network.htm) instead of getting the cases documented and publicized.

  79. Alicie, I have been reading your ramblings here for a while and just hoping that you will make some sense. I dont see any evolution in your arguments.
    You talked about Jean Paul, who said on the french tv show that he has received information about Tibetans who were hurt and imprisoned after the march protest being moved by train to north east. You question his sources just like some on the panel that evening questioned him. I think Jeanpaul would be stupid to reveal his sources. Why would he risk the safety of his source in Tibet?

    You ask why we cant trust Chinese govt? Think about what happened in Tianenmien square in 1989. Do you think the Chinese govt has accepted that millions of Chinese protested and hundreds if not thousands were killed? No, they still blame few mischievous elements. Do you remember what happened during the outbreak of SARS in China? Bird flu? Number of Chinese with AIDS? Do you think in all these instances the Chinese govt gave any real information? And recently the snow blizzard that caused major breakdown in transport before the Chinese new year? Do you know Chinese people had to look on sources outside CHina to confirm exactly what was happening.

    You wonder why the profiles of many people fleeing Tibet are not put online for your stats. That is simply because many still have families back in Tibet. It would definitely jeopardize their safety. You still dont seem to realise the brutality of Chinese regime.

    The Tibetan people’s aspiration for freedom is not a bandwagon for self gratification. What Tibetans is going through is very real and present. What we are fighting for is not to be politically correct but simply for what is ours. If on the way we have to shed some bloods, so be it.

    Je suis Tibetaine et j’habite en France. Si vous voulez, nous pouvons discuteren française.


  80. Rich,

    Are we to conclude that the Tibetan lady, who detailed her own harrowing experience of forced sterilization, in the 2008 UK Channel Four documentary, ‘Undercover in Tibet’ was lying?

    ” I was forcibly taken away against my will. I was feeling sick and giddy and couldn’t look up. Apparently they cut the fallopian tubes and stitched them up. It was agonisingly painful. They didn’t use anaesthetic. They just smeared something on my stomach and carried out the sterilisation. Apart from aspirin for the pain, there were no other drugs. I was so frightened, I can’t even remember how I felt”

    (Extract of an Interview with a Tibetan women as featured in the Channel Four Television Documentary, ‘Undercover in Tibet‘. Broadcast 30th March 2008)

    Or that the findings of the film’s producer, Jezza Neuman, based upon his covert researches inside Tibet were in error?

    “China maintains that it doesn’t implement its one-child policy in minority regions such as Tibet, but we discovered that this wasn’t true. One woman told us how she’d been subjected to a forced sterilisation. The secret police broke into her house and said they would take all of her belongings if she didn’t go with them. Aspirin was the only anaesthetic she was given before they cut her open.”

    (The Independent 31st March 2008)

    Presumably the considered findings of the UK Foreign Office, Amnesty International USA and the British Medical Association (who acknowledge coercive birth control practices in China, and that Tibetan women are also subject) are also baseless?

    “China’s population policy- Reports continue of forced abortions and sterilisations..” (FCO Annua Human Rigths Report-2007)

    “The authorities in Beijing initially exempted (Note: This assertion is derived from official claims made by the Communist Chinese Government and therefore should be treated accordingly) ethnic groups with a population of less than 10 million from the one-child policy and even from family planning more generally. It is clear, however, that controls have been applied to these groups for many years..” (Amnesty International Testimony to the Committee on International Relations United States Congress. T. Kumar, Advocacy Director for Asia & Pacific, Amnesty International USA 14th December2004)

    Shall we also dismiss the credibility of the writen testimony Tibetan women, and former health workers from Tibet, which has for years, consistently documented forced sterilisations, and other human rights violations resulting from China’s coercive birth control programme.

    “I am a Tibetan refugee woman from Amdo, North-Eastern Tibet having reached Dharamsala (northern India) recently. In my country, I completed a course from Medical School of Tsholho in 1993 and from then, up to July 2001, I have been working in family planning at a health centre for women and child. My job known as ‘white dress’ or doctor provided me with direct experience of birth-control and mother and child care.

    We have to propagate the Chinese policy of birth-control among the farmers and nomads in villages and remote areas. It claims ‘less family member will face no economic problems’, however the farmers and nomads are not opting for birth-control willingly or because of economic pressure. If it is so, why it is made mandatory target of birth control.

    The common practice and methods of birth control includes sterilization, ligature, ‘birth-control surgery’, inter-uterine-device of the woman have a miscarriage, induce labour etc. There is no proper system of transportation in the remote rural regions of my country, besides high hills and long routes for women and have to come several times to hospital which is either in Shang or Zong level. These arduous journeys are made because of the reality of coercion (fines and force), so nobody comes willingly! In addition all medical and surgery charges are paid for by the women herself. This became a burden not economic development for a family.

    (Testimony of Ms. Losar Kyi 6th March,2002 English translation of Chinese and Tibetan version-www.tibettruth.com)

    A UK television documentary,’Despatches’, featured a covert intervew with another health-worker, A Doctor from Amdo. She documented compulsory abortions and forced sterilisations after pregnancies of 3 months, 5 months and even longer (‘Despatches’ A Film by Vana Kewley, Channel Four-9th November 1988)

    Are we to reject too the numerous detailed reports and testimony of Moslem Uyghur women, who also suffer the most appalling medical atrocities as a consequence of China’s notorious population policies?

    What of oficial Chinese documentation and comments that reveal that Tibetans are indeed subject to China’s birth-control programme, with all the human rights concerns that raises?

    “birth control policy introduced in Nyangdren town in Lhasa was a huge success. This successful policy has been implemented with regard to both the family planning procedures of the People’s Republic of China and the existing conditions of Nyangdren town.” (Tibet Daily-23rd March 1998)

    Or the revealing comments of a former Mayor of Lhasa, Mr.Lhoga who in a speech in Beijing March 1989 stated that:

    “In Tibet for example the population is extremely small because of which Tibet is facing difficulties in manpower. Therefore we shouldn’t pursue the birth-control policy in Tibet”

    Is such material also to be consigned to the dustbin as lacking validity, along with the conclusions of former UN Special Rapporteur?

    “Women in Tibet continue to undergo hardship and are also subjected to gender-specific crimes, including reproductive rights violations such as forced sterilization, forced abortion, coercive birth control policies and the monitoring of menstrual cycles. There have been many reports of Tibetan women prisoners facing brutality and torture in custody”

    (UN Commission on Human Rights-Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, 27th February 2003)

    Such information has indeed been well researched and documented and provided to Governments, the United Nations, human rights organisations, medical bodies and the international media. Available too has been te results of medical examinations of Tibetan women by trained western Doctors, including Doctor Diana Gibb of London, and the accounts provided by Tibetans, and material submitted by Optimus and Independent Tibet Network to Amnesty Internatinal,contradicts China’s explanation that sterilisations have been ‘confused’ wth anti-syphilis injections ( Tibet the Facts-Paul Ingram 1990).

    It is not a lack of detailed information that is the issue here, rather an unwillngness, on the part of some, to accept the facts. In tandem with a merciless scepticism towards the evidence and testimony of Tibetan and Moslem Uyghur such resistance is based upon a ‘thinking’ which asserts, ‘dont confuse me with the facts, as I’ve already made up my mind’.

    How can any individual genuinely concerned about human rights, ignore or deny the plight of women subject to the brutal realities of China’s coercive population control programme?

    In light of the years of in-action and fudging from some organizations, including (and Rich I thank you for reminding me) most prominently the former Tibet Information Network, it seems we are dealing, not with an absence of evidence, but a troubling lack of integrity.

    True it is an appalling subject and perhaps too horrific for some, better perhaps to pretend its not there. For others it would appear that reducing global population levels is worth any price, including human rights violations (even the devastated lives of women in Tibet, East Turkestan and Communist China).

    Others may hold all things Chinese or communist, in fond regard and so shunt any inconvenient or odious manifestations of that countries ideology into a siding far away from any prying conscience.

    It appears very easy for some to be driven by their chosen world-view to the exclusion of facts, particularly those which may destabilise a perspective that places economic rights above other freedoms. Surely all are equal and interdependent?

    Whatever the reasoning this remains a major human rights issue, and also of considerable dimension to feminist ideology, touching, as it does, on women’s freedom of choice and control over their our own bodies.

    Such fundamental rights do not exist under communist Chinese rule, the state’s needs are seen as greater than those of the individual. It’s some thirteen years since delegates arrived in Beijing for the UN Conference on Women fuelled by the vision of furthering women’s rights.

    During that time the systematic abuse against women in Tibet, East Turkestan and China has continued, making a mockery of the recommendations and agreements of the Platform for Action and Beijing Declaration. We were assured that involvement in the Beijing Conference would help moderate the grim excesses of China’s totalitarian machine and improve the plight of women.

    As was predicted by those organisations which boycotted the event, the violations resulting from the programme have remain; forced sterilisations, torture, arbitrary arrests, forced abortions and infanticide.

    However abhorrent this harrowing human rights record may be what is equally offensive is the cold-blooded indifference which has greets this issue from some who claim to concerned about Tibet or human rights generally.

    In keeping a shameful silence on, or denying, the plight of Moslem-Uyghur, Tibetan and Chinese women they are complicit in concealing these atrocities. Unlike the US Senate, UK Parliamentary Foreign Parliamentary Committee and many other leading human rights groups and individuals, such as Dr Harry Wu, all of whom have acknowledged and condemned theses violations, such individuals seem unwilling to engage this issue.

    The traumatised women of East Turkestan, Tibet and communist China have little to thank them for.

  81. Alice, the reference to heritage was in relation to ancient Irish culture, not any later demographic incursions, which did of course include partial settlement by other peoples. Similarly of course China was invaded and under foreign domination and subjegation for considerable periods of history. In light of your comments perhaps we should talk, not of ancient Chinese culture, but give due prominence to cultural, political and demographic contribution of the Mongols and Manchu, both of whom of course, as Central Asian peoples, ruled China with an iron fist for centuries.

    Returning to present times, what state could be more ultra-nationalist than Communist China? Its imperialist ambitions at regional and global hegemony, most recently evidenced by the construction of nuclear submarine base in South China, form a far more dangerous and likely source of aggression than sentiments of Tibetan nationhood and the discussions of shared experiences between Ireland and Tibet.

  82. Jeff, please stop treating me like part of a denial conspiracy. I have not yet seen that documentary, which seemingly has not been promoted widely outside the UK. If I had, I’m sure I’d feel much more strongly about this. I have the utmost respect for victims and I will always listen to and believe the personal stories they tell.

    Can you provide more contemporary sources? I’m well aware of lots of testimony from the 1980s when the disgusting Chinese population-control policies were new, but I’ve heard very little about what’s happening nowadays and it’s very hard to know. As Jamyang has pointed out in several recent articles, it was even difficult for many people who considered themselves “in the movement” to ascertain how much a passion for freedom and independence from China was still in the hearts of people in Tibet until the revolution exploded.

    Yes, I’d LIKE to believe that the incidence of forced abortion and sterilization in Tibet has greatly decreased over the past 20 years, because it’s a horrible thing to imagine people having to go through. But of course I don’t want to believe that if it’s untrue. Hiding the painful reality is much worse than facing it. This is why I ask for good documentation – like the sort of documentation you cited of the atrocities in the 80s with names of people and places and specific stories, but set in the present day. I have no wish to hide the truth, no hidden agenda, no affinity towards population-control ideologies.

    When I get a chance, I’ll watch the documentary you recommended. If you have other sources of contemporary testimony, please share them and bring this issue to better light.

  83. @ALICIE

    “This is silly bla bla bla. The Irish don’t have a ‘unique and ancient heritage’. They come from various origines including English and Scots, spanish, norse, normand, etc..”

    -How nice of you to speak for us. Whyever you would feel you can speak for other people’s views of themselves is beyond me, but it is a sickness many Westerners have towards the Celtic peoples.

    -The majority culture of Ireland is an anglicized commercial culture that has actually done more harm than good to the native culture. But at least today, Irish-speakers have the civil right to use their language in all interactions, commercial or legal. Would you speak Irish, perhaps you would know this. But you don’t and so do not know the feelings we Irish-speakers have.

  84. Tenzin

    are you Tenzin Gönpo, the musicien ?

    Sorry but I’ll reply later, and to the other posts.

    It’s holidays here.

  85. Rigzin

    You say :

    I never thought I would be addressed as ‘your holiness’, thank you very much, but please,

    I don’t quite understand your statement.

    I have never said anywhere that I deny that there are exiles that are victims. I have never said that I don’t believe that the chinese have brutal methods.

    I asked in that commentary a simple question, that you even gave a reasonable reply, – that publishing profiles might endanger families at home.

    This could be remedied by using pseudonyms, and not naming towns or villages. Do you think this could be a solution ? Because, the problem is (as I see it with people who are there in the camps and discussing it elsewhere), the problem of statistics, the real reasons, the real situations. That is not known and therefore, they cannot benefit from balanced discussions. Nobody has access to real information. So no one really knows what is going on as to movements between countries.

  86. oops there was a problem in the previous post, this is the correct version


    You say :

    <And if your Holiness still want the statistics, I don’t know where to link you because I know better than looking for them online.

    May you find compassion and love whilst you look for your online statistics.

    I never thought I would be addressed as ‘your holiness’, thank you very much, but please,

    I don’t quite understand your statement.

    I have never said anywhere that I deny that there are exiles that are victims. I have never said that I don’t believe that the chinese have brutal methods.

    I asked in that commentary a simple question, that you even gave a reasonable reply, – that publishing profiles might endanger families at home.

    This could be remedied by using pseudonyms, and not naming towns or villages. Do you think this could be a solution ? Because, the problem is (as I see it with people who are there in the camps and discussing it elsewhere), the problem of statistics, the real reasons, the real situations. That is not known and therefore, they cannot benefit from balanced discussions. Nobody has access to real information. So no one really knows what is going on as to movements between countries.

  87. Rich, Please be assured that every effort is made to ensure that this issue is being addressed, and that detailed information is being channeled. The subject is now thankfully receiving a much higher profle, it’s no longer a matter of doubt, unless of course we are a card-carrying members of the Communist Party of China, the United Nations Fund for Population, International Planned Parenthood Federation or Marie Stopes.

    Given the facist and fundamentalist ideology which informs those bodies I doubt even if presented with a brutalized Tibetan, Uygur or Chinese woman, just released from the medical slab after ‘birth-control surgery, they would accept, as genuine, the medical evidence before their own eyes, that such barbarity was being inflicted in the name of population control.

    It is of course ultimately all about perspective, politics, personal choice, integrity and a committment, or lack, to ethical principles. A former UK Minister was once sat- down in her office in Whitehall, and shown a film, which documented Chinese female orphans (another tragic product of China’s one-child policy) being neglected and abused. Her response to the disturbing images, a matter of official record was to state “It is not happening, it is simply not happening”. Of course as Head of the UK International development agency, with considerable investment in China, and actively supporting and funding China’s population programme, what else could we have expected from a politician when faced with such material?

    Her reaction reminds me of those so-called fact- finding missions that visited Stalinist-Russia which, upon their return declared, that they had witnessed “Utopia in action”. Clearly no evidence of abuse, therefore ipso facto no abuse is happening. Denial, particularly when informed by any ideological or emotional attachment is a very toxic alchemy indeed, where uncomfortable facts that may undermine the individual perspective, are rapidly transformed and rationalized away. Meanwhile of course the violations continue and people suffer.

    It’s curious how the testimony of Tibetan and Uyghur women, relating to coercive birth-control violations, is greeted by a few individuals with suspicion. I can quite understand such a marble-hearted reaction from the aforementioned interested parties. What puzzles me is when supposed supporters of Tibet, who are quite happy to accept, with far less rigorous examination or doubt, the accounts of torture from Tibetan monks, and concede that China is engaged in a form of cultural genocide against Tibet and its people, suddenly become callous rationalists, dismissing as unreliable the documented accounts of Uygur and Tibetan women, whose lives have been scarred by the brute realities of forced sterilisation.

    Rich, I have myself, just two years ago, interviewed Tibetan women who have been subject to the grim excesses of population control Chinese-style. It is difficult to look such women in the eye, and observe the raw pain and distress they re-live during those recordings.

    Material continues to emerge, which along with the wealth of documentation, demonstrates that Tibetan women are subject to birth-control and that violations are not isolated incidents, but form part of a pattern of abuse resulting from centrally engineered policies, that can only operate with the sanction, support and investment of the Chinese Regime. Efforts to record, research, and publish such testimomy will, have no doubts, continue.

    Menawhile, from a personal level, whilst the qualitative aspect of such information is, of course, of relevance. More important still, from a compassionate and human perspective, is the fact that we know that such abuses are indeed happening in Tibet. That in itself demands condemnation and active opposition.

  88. Hello,
    please notice one point:
    Women, all over the world, get/got abused for political interests.
    Some have to cover their body to demonstrate against western colonialism, others have to produce ethnicaly pure kids to sure the peoples survival (a hot topic in europe because many women don´t want to have the required number of kids).
    Many western (and other) women are afraid of being abused for politicl propaganda

  89. Indeed women across the world suffer abuse, only in Tibet, East Turkestan and China are women subject to a state-orchestrated population programme which results in women being dragged from their homes, tied onto a medical slab and forcibly sterilized, often without anaesthetic.

    Imagine for one moment if one woman, say in Rome, Montreal, London, or New York suffered a gross violation of her rights, the streets would be a seething cauldron of feminist outrage. Sadly the ‘concerned sisterhood’ who maintain a shameful silence on this issue, do not appear unduly bothered about the plight of their ‘sisters’ in Tibet, East Turketan and China, who suffer such violations.

    I agree entirely about the suppression of women’s rights, it is indeed a global phenomena. However these particular violations have not been witnessed, on such an organized scale, since the Nazi Sterilization Law of 1933 launched a national programme of forced sterilizations, which was implemented with particular relish by units of the Gestapo.

    The extent and brutal nature of medical atrocities inflicted upon women in Tibet, East Turkestan and China are a troubling reminder of those dark times.

  90. How can we call this voilent…absolutely not!!!What the chinese regime is doing to the tibetans is voilence to the core…i feel sick to think that prisoners in Tibet have to starve and are forced to drink their urine for survival when western countries are shifting towards bio-fuel for their cars!

  91. Simple fact is that Tibetans should not be expected to sit in passive indifference while their nation and culture are subject to the most appalling and systematic destruction.

    It’s a surreal and unique burden of religious discipline which is expected by some, of Tibetans, that they maintain a strict adherence to Buddhist principles of non-violence, despite the harrowing realities of occupation by communist China.

    It is the right of Tibetans to determine the nature and course of their struggle for national liberation.

  92. hi

    haven’t found time to reply to previous messages, but have been thinking about it very much

    I would just propose the bouddhist idea of immpermanence, of annata non self etc, so why should people be so clinging to their nationality, their language, their country, their identity, why don’t these principles seem to be important even for the clergy ?

  93. no replies ? too embarrassing, no doubt, no worry, I can understand why people who have lots of interests in many countries need to reflect, need even to understand the difference between their religious principles (that they propagate or sell) and the realpolitik.. which is unfortunately so different.

    The whole world is in fact in this confusion. The difference between realpolitik and bla, bla bla (tranlation, spin doctoring).

    So ??? Any replies ?

  94. One could equally ask what has the forced sterilization of Chinese, Tibetan, Uyghur, Manchurian or Mongolian women got to do with Marxist-Leninist principles, the ideological foundation of the ‘Butchers of Beijing’

  95. Alicie,

    This is not a discussion forum. In particular, your latest comment asking for details on Rich’s profile is totally irrelevant to Jamyang Norbu’s article, and as such it has been marked as spam and won’t be published. You are now definitely removed from this blog. À bon entendeur madame-je-sais-tout.

  96. Rupert, this is not the place for ad hominem attacks. Besides that, I see no evidence of Mr. Bowe obtaining any personal gain from his advocacy for Tibet. Please grow up.

  97. Rupert,

    Comments on this blog are restricted to criticism of or discussions on articles posted by Jamyang Norbu. It is not a forum for character assassination. Comments outside the theme of the posted blog or essay will not be accepted. Consequently we cannot accept your comment for publication.

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