Barefoot Experts

Where facts are few, experts are many.
Donald R. Gannon


Among the many half-cocked (and often disastrous) schemes dreamed up during the Cultural Revolution, the institution of “barefoot doctors” (Chin: 赤脚医生 chijiao yisheng; Tib: ཨམ་ཆི་རྐང་རྗེན་མ་ amchi kangjema) was one much admired by Western Maoists and celebrity pilgrims to the middle kingdom as Shirley MacLaine.

Only after the PRC opened up in the late 70s did Chinese authorities admit to the system’s deep flaws and abolish it in 1981. In too many cases these “doctors”, often illiterate peasants with little or no training (and even less medical supplies and equipment), frequently inflicted more harm and suffering on their patients than they did any good. Jasper Becker, Beijing Bureau Chief for the South China Morning Post, noted that even in the 90s rural Chinese had been so turned-off by such official health-care that they were reverting to treatment by traditional “witch doctors.”

Following the revolutionary events of this March, the international media found itself unable to obtain detailed information on what was going on inside Tibet, and unable to rely on its usual stable of talking-heads and pundits. So it had to reach out to the small (and scattered) number of scholars and writers on Tibet, activists, NGO personnel, and Tibetan political and community leaders, to explain and elaborate upon what was going on. Some among these, whether for reasons of personal pique, political convenience or academic conceit seemed to me to have been intent on creating doubt and misunderstanding about an issue that, if you have even a basic grasp the fundamentals, is unquestionably straightforward. They were doing more harm than good; hence the designation “barefoot experts”.

This is not a detailed analysis of these specialists and their statements but rather an initial overview of some of their more extreme utterances and a cursory attempt to figure out why they made them.

Kate Saunders, spokesperson for the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), stated on the BBC World Service (March 14th) that Tibetans wanted “meaningful autonomy”. This was on the fourth day of the protests in Lhasa, the day when monk and lay demonstrators in Lhasa and in Labrang were shouting slogans calling for Tibetan independence, waving the Tibetan national flag – and were being savagely beaten by People’s Armed Police (wujing) and also fired upon by “army units” (jundui) according to Woeser’s Tibet Update 1.

Robert Barnett of Columbia University in an interview in Foreign Policy (March 31, 2008) also offered an unusual explanation of what protesters in Tibet were demanding in their slogans. “ A huge sector of the rural population has said, ‘Tibet was independent in the past. We reassert that belief. That doesn’t mean we demand that it be independent again.’”

Did Barnett conduct a survey of political opinions in rural Tibet? Does he seriously think that Tibetans put themselves in the way of being shot in the back or incarcerated and tortured, to deliver such a delicately nuanced message to Chinese security forces? Are rural Tibetans capable of such Clinton style triangulation and parsing?

Barnett further advises us “…we have to get over any suggestion that the Chinese are ill-intentioned or trying to wipe out Tibet.” This, he implies, is the kind of propaganda that exile Tibetans are spreading, and he analyzes the situation further “We have to be very careful not to confuse exile politics, which is a demand for anti-China this and anti-China that, with internal politics, which is much more pragmatic, complex, and sophisticated.”

Andrew Fischer (of the London School of Economics) in his article for the Guardian “Hard Lines Helps No One.” makes a remark similar to Barnett’s: “In the ensuing propaganda battle, Tibet itself is again being lost between the two extremes of hardcore Tibetan nationalists in exile and hardliners in Beijing”.

Note that both men make no bones about representing exile Tibetans as anti-Chinese and hardcore nationalists (on par with hardliners in Beijing) while those Tibetans living inside Tibet are represented as hapless victims squeezed between the intransigence of both exile Tibetans and Chinese authorities.

But where on earth are the “hardcore nationalists” the uncompromising “anti-China” Tibetans in exile? The Dalai Lama and his exile government have absolutely conceded Tibetan sovereignty to China. The Dalai Lama has repeatedly stated that it was an advantage for Tibet to be a part of China because of China’s booming economy. Prime Minister Samdong Rimpoche has even welcomed the new railway to Tibet saying that it would bring economic prosperity to the Tibetan people. Recently His Holiness, in a May 18th interview with the Times (London), even said “I can’t wait to be a Chinese citizen.”

It must also be made clear that the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile (TGIE) control all the institutions and organization in the exile world: political, administrative, cultural and religious, including most Western support groups. Many of the organizations that claim to be autonomous are in fact not so. The TGIE is a highly centralized structure that has near exclusive control of all funding that comes into exile society from Western aid and governmental sources. The Tibetan government has in the last four or five years actively discouraged exile Tibetans from not only from voicing their feelings about Tibetan independence, but even prevented them from conducting peaceful demonstrations and protests in India and abroad.

Only a few organizations are in practice independent and have goals in variance with the Dalai Lama’s. The largest of these is the Tibetan Youth Congress. The most visible, at least in the west, is the Students For a Free Tibet. Both have absolutely no say in the making of Tibetan government policies and no influence on the Dalai Lama’s decisions. These organizations are declaredly non-violent and not anti-Chinese in any sort of racist or xenophobic way. They are merely against Chinese rule in Tibet. To anyone who has been in demonstrations organized by them and Tibetan communities in exile will have noted the quaint and marked mildness of most of their slogans: “ Shame on China” “China go Home”. Shame Shame…China Shame. Stop the Killings… in Tibet. Free the People…In Tibet. Long Live the Dalai Lama.

There is none of the “Death to the Zionist Pigs” or “Wipe the Jews of the Face of the Earth” kind of thing that you would hear in similar gatherings in Gaza. There are also, of course, no suicide bombers or terrorists. I would be interested to know if Fischer and Barnett support an “independent homeland” for the Palestinians – and why.

To call these Tibetans “hardcore nationalists” is not only a perversion of the truth but raises concerns whether an underlying, a subliminal sort of suggestion is being disseminated. For anyone with memories of the 90’s such terms as “hardcore nationalism” immediately brings up images of the Yugoslav Civil War: Milošević, Serbian nationalism, ethnic cleansing and murdered babies. Fischer also attempts to represent the Olympic torch protests as a kind of sinister Dick Cheney/Neocon style maneuver by Tibetan hardliners that turned what should have been a protest about China’s policies in Tibet “into an attack on China and the Chinese…in much the same way that the Iraq war was turned into a question of patriotism in the US.”

All this is of course classic victim bashing. China was on the receiving end of it once. When Japan invaded China in 1937, US ambassador Joseph Grew ridiculed the idea that Japan was a great oppressor and the Chinese were the “downtrodden victims.” Many in the West, especially in Britain, felt that a backward, corrupt country like China needed to be “taught a lesson” by a vigorous, modern and progressive Japan.

Another barefoot expert Patrick French wrote in The New York Times (March 22) that Tibetans inside Tibet were instigated to demonstrate because they fondly imagined that America was supporting them, a delusion that was reinforced by the awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama. French claims that he was told this by a Tibetan informant – whom he does not name. If that were actually the case why didn’t Tibetans demonstrate immediately after that Gold Medal event? The Dalai Lama was awarded the Gold Medal on September 14, 2006. He received the actual award on 18 October 2007. Why did Tibetans wait seventeen months, or at least five months before doing anything? Surely public excitement about the award would have dissipated by then. French deliberately overlooks the fact that the protests started on March 10th – a day powerfully symbolic of the assertion of Tibetan sovereignty, and having nothing to do with gold medals or American support. But a little inconsistency like this doesn’t get in the way of French wanting to establish that Western instigation and encouragement caused the unrest in Tibet. That if left alone Tibetans would accept Chinese rule – which would be the best thing for everyone concerned.

Andrew Fischer also thinks that the political manipulation of Tibetans originates from the West and claims “there is a very real danger that Tibetans in Tibet are being put at risk by the uncompromising political agendas set in the West.”

Patrick French attempts to narrow the sources of this manipulation in the West to specific organizations “… the various groups that make Chinese leaders lose face each time they visit a Western country. The International Campaign for Tibet, based in Washington, is now a more powerful and effective force on global opinion than the Dalai Lama’s outfit in northern India. The European and American pro-Tibet organizations are the tail that wags the dog of the Tibetan government-in-exile.”

When French was involved in the Tibet movement in the late 80s, Western support groups and the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) were involved in activism against China. But since the Dalai Lama ratcheted up his Middle Way policy nearly all of that has stopped. After Bill Clinton’s de-linking of human-rights and trade and his policy of “constructive engagement” with China, which ICT director Lodi Gyari enthusiastically embraced, all boycott campaigns and economic activism against China came to a crashing halt (see the article “Going For Broke” in my book Shadow Tibet). These days the TGIE and the ICT far from organizing demonstrations or protests have been doing their best to discourage and stop such activities, and attempting to control the organizations carrying them out. (See Don’t Stop the Revolution).

And most Western support groups, or what’s left of them, now carefully observe Samdong Rimpoche’s injunctions against protest marches and demonstration. Tenth March rallies in New York City have now become near exclusively Tibetan events. At the anti-Olympic Torch rally in San Francisco this year there were many non-Tibetans supporters but none of them were from any of the old support groups. In fact at the rally I met just one inji activist from the old days, Fred Shepardson of the Committee of 100 for Tibet – and he pointed this out to me.

The fact is that French and the others are completely out of touch with the current realities of Tibetan activism. If they just stepped down from their intellectual perches and observed or (heaven forbid) participated in a demonstration or two they would clearly see that the ICT and support groups don’t call the shots anymore. Tibetan and Tibetan led organizations, including community associations have taken over. There is also a growing change in the make up of activists with new arrivals from Tibet not only filling in the ranks and beginning to assume leadership positions in the various groups (and also starting new ones) so that the exile/Tibet (sarjor/ningjor) divide, is fast disappearing.

Our barefoot experts are largely unanimous in giving Chinese authorities the benefit of the doubt in nearly all instances. Andrew Fischer goes one step further and tells us why this should be done. “We need to understand that the Chinese Communist party includes many differences of opinion, including some powerful voices in favour of negotiating with the Dalai Lama and genuine autonomy for Tibet. We must support these voices. However, they could be easily scared or forced into silence if nationalist anger were turned against them.”

This is a variation of the “reformers vs hardliners” or “moderates vs hardliners” scenario within the CCP that never seems to lose its fascination for practitioners of infantile Sinology. By the very fact of it being made up of human beings, one would expect any political organization, even a totalitarian one like the Nazi Party or the CCP, to register some differences in ideology or policy within its ranks. The question is whether these small differences mean anything in such closed non-democratic structures as the CCP, or whether they are merely illustrative of Lu Xun’s remark about the hard reality of perceived doctrinal or policy differences among the power elite in China: “Whoever was in power wishes for a restoration. Whoever is now in power is in favour of the status quo. Whoever is not yet in power calls for reforms. The situation is generally such.”

Anyway, who are the moderate pro-Dalai Lama, pro-autonomy party leaders in China? I am sure Fischer cannot give us names. The same sort of argument was raised in the 30s by pro-Nazi Englishmen in Britain, that attacking Hitler or criticizing German rearmament was counterproductive. That it weakened the arguments of “moderate” Nazis who wanted to negotiate with Britain and played into the hands of hardliners in Berlin.

This leads us to another of Fischer’s theories of “the rarely mentioned reality that the Dalai Lama, and Tibetan Buddhism more generally, is in fact very popular in China. As far as I understand it, the Dalai Lama is keenly aware of this influence and realizes that this channel is crucial for resolving the Tibet issue …Effectively, the Dalai Lama is waging a public opinion battle with Beijing within China itself, not within the west. Current Olympic demonstrations are not helping him in this battle.” This is pernicious rubbish of the most delusional kind. But we do not have space here to discuss Fischer’s theory at length. Those wanting to know more could check out the latter half of my article Looking Back From Nangpala, where I have attempted to lay this fallacy to rest.

One underlying message that the barefoot experts, in one way or the other, are all attempting to get across is that by the very fact of protesting and kicking up a fuss internationally, Tibetans are bringing upon themselves and their countrymen the very oppression and suffering that they are protesting against in the first place. The sensible thing to do, the experts appear to be advising us, is to keep quiet, to give up. China’s rise is inevitable, they seem to be saying. Just look at what the cover stories of Newsweek or Time and other popular news magazines are telling us : China is the next superpower, the 21st century is China’s century, The Future Belongs to China and so on. You my Tibetan friends are getting in the way of free trade, globalization, and more personally my research project, my tenure track, and visas for my students for their next study tour of Amdo. For why the experts should behave in this manner read “Have China Scholars All Been Bought” by Carlson Holtz (of Hong Kong University) in the Far Eastern Economic Review, and also “The Anaconda in the Chandelier” by leading American sinologist, Perry Link, of Princeton University in the New York Review of Books.

I want to make clear that I am not just singling out these few people for criticism. I have a follow up piece where I will discuss another group of Tibet/China “experts” in the free world who are outright propagandists for Communist China and who have built successful careers largely regurgitating propaganda from the Ministry of Truth in Beijing and whitewashing China’s crimes in Tibet. Compared with them our barefoot experts, even if not exactly epitomizing objective scholarship, have at least more complex reasons for their failings.

Patrick French was a friend of mine, before I reviewed his book Tibet, Tibet: A Personal History of a Lost Land (my review “The Incredible Weariness of Hope” is on Phayul). He was an enthusiastic Tibet supporter once and director of the UK based Free Tibet Campaign in the early nineties. With the exception of his Tibet book he is a gifted writer and I think his Liberty or Death: India’s Journey to Independence and Division is one of the more perceptive histories of modern India. I am looking forward to his biography of VS Naipaul.

If there was one person, who could claim to be the linchpin of the Tibet support movement in the 80s and 90’s it was Robbie Barnett. He founded the Tibet Information Network, TIN in 1989, which quickly became a valuable source of well-researched factual material relating to Tibet. Having created a standing for accuracy, independence, and quality, TIN acquired, for a time, an almost iconic status within the Tibetan movement.

I do not know Andrew Fischer, but someone whose opinion I respect told me that his research work on development in Tibet was substantive and useful.

So what happened to these experts and friends of Tibet? There is the broader explanation. Not only China’s rise as an economic powerhouse, as I mentioned earlier, but also America and the West’s retreat on human rights, the weakening of democracies world over, and most critically of all of the complete political and moral capitulation by the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan leadership, and the collapse of the Free Tibet movement. How can you expect steadfastness in the ranks when leaders are falling over themselves in their eagerness to submit to China?

Then there is the intellectual failure, which is perhaps more relevant in this case. The inability of so called experts and scholars to sufficiently understand what is really happening in China has been a long-standing and fairly notorious one. To give just one example: in the 60s and 70’s all the big name Sinologists who regularly traveled to the PRC and even resident diplomats in Beijing were all blissfully unaware of the Great Famine that was wiping out many tens of millions in China. Among the small handful of experts who discovered this catastrophe was a husband and wife team, Miriam and Ivan London, who were originally researchers on the Soviet Union. In 1971 the two established themselves in Hong Kong and with the aid of translators interviewed recent refugees from the mainland. They came out with the first accurate reports of mass starvation in China. Of course, they were roundly criticized by professional Sinologists world over.

I always thought the Londons saw China clearly because they had critical distance. They had no ideological, academic, financial, sentimental or even romantic ties to China – all that baggage that Sinologists seem to lug around like long suffering Bactrian camels.

That’s why I think the best analysis of what happened in Tibet this year was written by someone with a similar distance. Someone not involved in Tibet or China studies, but a specialist on Eastern Europe and Communism, and author of the the Pulitzer Prize winning book Gulag, A History. I have mentioned this in a previous article but I think it bears repeating. Anne Applebaum in her March 18 article in the Washington Post discerned that the events in Tibet represented one manifestation of a wider reaction of “captive nations”, Uighurs, Mongols, Tibetans, rising up against the tyrannical rule of an old imperial and foreign power that has long oppressed smaller countries and societies surrounding it. Applebaum included even such independent nations as North Korea and Burma in this category, hence, quite accurately, relegating Kim Jong Il and the Burmese military junta to the role of Beijing’s surrogate dictators. As if in confirmation of Applebaum’s broad theory, Reuters reported, shortly after, that major demonstrations had broken out in East Turkistan (Xinjiang). When the Olympic torch passed through Seoul, North Korean refugees staged a protest and one even attempted to set himself on fire as a protest against China.

Applebaum concluded that if Chinese leaders “… aren’t worried, they should be. After all, the past two centuries were filled with tales of strong, stable empires brought down by their subjects, undermined by their client states, overwhelmed by the national aspirations of small, subordinate countries. Why should the 21st century be any different? Watching a blurry cell phone video of tear gas rolling over the streets of Lhasa yesterday, I couldn’t help but wonder when – maybe not in this decade, this generation or even this century – Tibet and its monks will have their revenge.”


145 Replies to “Barefoot Experts”

  1. I have read many articles and book of JN. Its great inspiring thought written. Thank you very much. Its natural that criticism will dodge to any straight forward writer and activist like JN, LHASANG TSERING, TENZIN TSUNDUE AND like ARUNDHATI ROY and SHOBA DE in India. It seems that they are always against the nation development because they criticise to govt activities often. In actual case, it is not. Due to these criticism, govt will take very careful in any activities it undertakes.

    It doesnot mean that I support for every JN articles. I appreciate his writing style and prose. But his article contents are rather controversial one. I could see big difference in his article between 10 yrs back and now. It has improved a lot, which I mean is less criticism on Govt but more nationalism.

  2. Wow! This piece blew me away. Strong but fair.
    It’s amazing how certain things suggested through the media, innocently creeps into our mindset, and they seem so harmless… until someones shines a torch on it and shows us how dangerous it actually is. Thanks for the light Jamyang la.

  3. hello guys,

    this is jamyang norbu’s website where we are so fortunate to read his latest writings. if we have any comment, we know it should be in relevance to the article. therefore, as a humble reader of this distinguished writer, i urge my fellow readers to kindly refrain from bringing or attaching the name of certain tenzin tsundue in your comment. it is just not fair.

    thank you.

  4. If it is not Jamyang Norbu’s highly analytical piece , then these “barefoot experts” will have a free ride. It is important that Tibetans do pay attention western commentators.

    As human beings we all follow certain rationality when we judge and form perception.

    Whatever Jamyang Norbu la writes is fully supported by evidence and real life examples. He is a fearless writer and he has all the credential to be called a true Tibetan expert.

    I love Jamyang Norbu la. Unfortunately those Tibetan who can not read his article, and who really does not understand his views, bear grudge against him. He is our exile ” Norbu ” literally in Tibetan mean the precious.

  5. I would like to read the blogs of great expert like Tsering Shakya and Lhasang Tsering. I hope they would also step into JN shoes and take step to initiate their blogs which is one of modernised way of campaign on Tibet fact issue to the outside world. Thank you Jamyang Norbu la for your continuous survey on Tibet related news. It is also one way to teach political lesson to the outside commentators.

    What about blog from PM Samdong Rinpoche, so that he would hear lots of views, suggestion and comments from common people. It is also helpful in his govt administering policy.

  6. I too give a big “WOW!” to this latest article by JN. In regards to what “Khampa Posa” mentioned about many Tibetans not reading JN’s works, it’s also the case that many cannot due to language barrier. I saw that the Tibetan-language blog “Khabdha” ( has picked up and translated some of JN’s works for a Tibetan-reading audience. It would be great if we could get an organized effort going to have all of JN’s works translated and published on the web in Tibetan.

  7. Although I am not an expert on this issue, being a Tibetan, when I read these so called “Western Experts on Tibet and China”, I usually have the same sentiment as JN has articulated with facts and figures, I often feel these people are misreading the condition and intention of Tibetan people. Portraying the Tibetans inside as being the victim of politics between western powers and China, and the politics between TGIE, exile people, and China. Whether Tibetans inside Tibet or in exile, we all have the same asperation to be independent as we used to be in history.

    Since, JN articulated so well here, therefore, hat off!


  8. Jamyang…

    The simple fact is that Patrick French, Robert Barnett, and Kate Saunders (et al) were never genuine friends of Tibet in the first place. They had more in common with the UK Foreign Office than Tibetans shedding their blood for Rangzen.

    As to long-standing Inji supporters of Tibetan independence, well they are still active, but sadly not often mentioned in despatches.

  9. …..the irony being of course that the Tibetan government, and wider Tibetan community, enabled these so-called ‘authorities’ on Tibet to establish themselves into eminent positions of communication. They still occupy a central ground in terms of media reference on Tibet.

    Having carved out a lucrative career from the corpse of Tibet, they are now distorting the facts about the nature of the Tibetan cause, and the political objectives of the struggle waged inside Tibet.

    The signs for such treachery were evident from the beginning, unfortunately many people were just too busy falling at the feet of people such as Barnett to notice.

    Efforts were made in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s to alert Tibetans to the worrying portents. Articles were presented in the Tibetan Review and elsewhere, challenging such people as to why they seemed so uncomfortable about the goal of an independent Tibet. Similar protests were made about their cold-hearted censorship and misrepresentation of the appalling human rights abuses, resulting from China’s coercive birth-control policies inside Tibet and East Turkestan.

    I hope sincerely that Jamyang’s observation, that Tibetans are regaining control of their political struggle, is true. Perhaps in the USA, France, India or Switzerland. Unfortunately having witnessed recent events in the UK my feeling is that Tibetans continue to hand over reponsibility for their cause, to those who have no meaningful sympathy with the national liberation of Tibet, and who counsel ‘autonomy'(whatever that nebulous term means) for Tibetans and accommodation with China.

    I first head that message in the House of Commons in 1988, at a meeting with some of Tibet’s ‘old friends’. I recall sitting there thinking to myself, why are these Tibetans just sitting raound saying nothing, while these ‘Injis’ promote such stealthy surrender of Tibet?

    This must have been around-the-time when Robert Barnett was, I recall, living from the back of an old van and earning a few cents by dressing up as a Chicken for stock-cube comercials.

    My how times change, yet the deceptions continue.

  10. Actually its most welcome whoever support for Tibet cause,whether be Abroad or Indian. We Tibetan are gratitude for every support. If they are really sincere in there sympathy for Tibet issue, I dont think such constructive criticism wont deter their sincerity.

  11. Rich and others,
    Do you really think that those with so called “language barriers” need to to “learn “lesons from JN’s piles of needless frustrations and angers. can you stop insulting heroes of tibet.

    Do your part to contribute, be heroes ,not cocoons.

  12. There is no doubting the truth of Jamyang Norbu’s analysis on ‘”barefoot experts”.

    Jamyang writes ” complete political and moral capitulation by the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan leadership,and the collapse of the Free Tibet movement”. I would add that the experts have misunderstood the influence of Kundun over the Tibetan people.
    As a not-so-young Tibetan but younger than Jamyang Norbu, I have always believed that many of us would gladly take ‘one’ for Kundun but we would not allow Kundun or anyone to concede Tibetan sovereignty.

    For some who see Jamyang Norbu’s views improving with age..I disagree…..
    I remember Jamyang Norbu being interviewd by Tom Brokhaw some 12 to 15 years ago and Jamyang calling for war against China!!!!!
    Jamyang fully agreeing with Tom Brokhaw that it was suicidal but….!!!!! there was fire.

    As I was explaining to a loved one recently ” I love Kundun but I love my land a little more”.

  13. I hope very soon, we will have opportunity to have the scintilatting and very patriotic articles from Lhasang Tsering like activist and great writer. They are invincible and still under firing with their getting old.

    I hope the next article topic will be, whether Rangzen activist organisation or individual have any result to show to the Tibetan people. Or whether criticising or protesting towards China will only gain freedom?

  14. Jigme, I meant no such insult. Take this article we’re commenting on now as an example. I doubt our Tibetan heros who are not skilled in reading English are aware of what self-proclaimed English-speaking experts are writing about them and how offensively wrong it is. Even much of the English-speaking Tibetan and Tibet-supporter world is unaware of it, thus necessitating that authors like JN bring it to light.

    Greater awareness of the state of “Tibetology” would help people better tailor their messaging and allow them to respond to it. If you don’t know how others are misrepresenting you, you’re at a serious disadvantage for representing yourself.

    Hope this clears up what I meant!

  15. Every article of JN is superb by placing the real facts of some peoples; so called helping Tibet, as these people are destabilising the cause of our fight(TIBET)between Tibetan people in exile.One request for JN, please try to make little short your article so that many people can take their little time and read all your article.
    For me UNITY of all the tibetan people in exile is the most important force to succeed in our goal and its the most inacceptable and terrible effect for the chinese govt. BOD GYALO

  16. I would rather trust information from westerners than our own people;The unbiased, objection information. When it comes to finding the fact about our history, we tend to deny all the “dark side of our history” and we only have courage to face the good side of our history. So it becomes purely propaganda. May be it is because we are at propaganda war with Chinese, so that we have to pick our sides of the story to project. However, for the long run, it is so dangerous to distort information for the sake of winning the war,because we are moving farther away from the truth. For example, Almost half of Tibetan in exile still believe Dalai Lama is reincarnation of Buddha or Compassion…whatever.. which I still don’t understand.Dalai Lama said he is a very simple monk. but we Tibetan can’t accept that fact.

    I am sure people had read some books on Tibet from very different aspects. Such as “Tibetan revolutionary” “The modern Tibet”..etc but while we Talk about these book, We Tibetans are totally denial of the facts in those books Which shocked me the most.

  17. Tsering, considering Western sources “unbiased” and “objective” is at best naive. Why not look at what these particular ones are saying and how preposterous it is? Did you bother to actually read the article before posting?

  18. I noticed that very FEW western media outlets (especially the major networks) used Tibetan scholars/intellectuals for their input when the protests started in tibet. There aren’t a lot of scholars invited to speak even though we definitely have a strong group who could have provided valuable background info & insight into the protests. As a Tibetan it was frustrating to see all these injis “representing” us in the major tv networks and newspapers. I think the media calls on injis for their “unbiased” views not realizing how misleading this is. I think one of the major problems concerning the tibetan movement is fighting the misconceptions that these inji scholars create through their work. this is a bigger problem than we may realize. it’s frustrating and further exacerbates our struggle.

    Jamyang la I am especially looking forward to your next article. Also, i have a suggestion. It would be great if you would suggest articles/books for injis and tibetans who want to learn more about tibetan history/politics. I feel that there is too much BS out there by writers who just want to glamorize and extocize tibet and make their mark as tibet experts.

  19. Tenner, I’m afraid that now there is also a lot of BS out their by writers who just want to de-glamorize and de-exoticize Tibet and make their mark as Tibet experts. -Dava

  20. Dear Jeff Bowe,

    thank you very much for your incisive observations. Though I don’t know you personally, I have known many people such as yourself here in Canada who quietly sacrificed selflessly many, many years for Tibet, in the 80’s and 90’s, without any personal gain. People like yourselves are true friends and heroes for Tibet, and should never be forgotten.

    Regarding the mainsteam media, isn’t it strange that with all the mainstream television interviews, panel discussions that took place the last few months, no one asked Jamyang Norbu, one of foremost Tibetan writers in the English language, and experts on China, to join. It is disheartening to sense that these media outlets, who might be contacting ICT for experts are in turn redirecting them to these barefoot experts. None of them even once interviewed Jamyang la during this period, just to get a different point of view?

  21. We Tibetan are still under the thick misconception when reading or listening the politics related books written by Tibetan writer. I think it is our big defective side of our community. We should be more broad minded. We should have faith towards Tibetan writer although their contents are not fully correct. Still there are lots we can get lesson from it. Although the book written by Western are good but these are not above Tibetan written books. Yes, it is right that we Tibetans are not ready or hesitant to face the darker side of history. The writer should be sincere, genuine, objective and unbiased one. They should write on both side of politics or history or whatever.

  22. For example, there are copious of books written by ex-Tensung Guerilla armies. I also read many books, which are written with very detail on how they and their group have sacrificed their lives. These are great job and their job have placed obviously in Tibetan history. But unfortunately, I never saw any information on how they have looted, raped and torture among civilian Tibetan areas like Lhokha, Kyirong, Dzonga, and Mustang. These informations are general among entire Tibetan people mouth. But no such information could be seen among these books, neither in JN’s Guerilla related book, although he is considered to be a straightforward and genuine writer. I am not against any body. But I am against biased and dubious role guy whoever he is and wherever he is from. Regarding this type, western writers are more openness and genuine one. For example you can see how US or UK armies fault in war like Iraq or Afghanistan. Recently one American army was jailed for misconduct with young gal in Japan. I hope there are lots we can take lesson from Western side also.

  23. Don’t bashing Tsering, she/he is want to learn, but does not have a foundation on Tibetan history, politics, and culture.

    The west is “unbiased” and “objective” is bit laughable as Tsering pointed it out.

    Tsering refering to so called “Dark side of our society” which she/he did not mentioned which one in specific, she/he referreed to Phuntsok Wanggyal’s biography (I guess, since the netire title is not mentioned) which is produced by teaming with a guy named Goldstein who basically talking his own opinion rather than history, and who is also married to a Tibetan women who was a sister of an autocrat (I heard something like this, but can be verified by any interested group). The Phuntsok’s main theme of the book is to deny the fact that he did not lead Chinese army into Tibet, it was inevitable from his point of view. However, in the book he also declared he would lead the Red Armies into Tibet when he was thrown out of Tibet under the suspicion of communism. Thus, it was aimed at washing his own crime. Nothing darkside is exposed? It would be great if Tsering could be little bit more speciic rather than finger pointing. The most tangle example Tsering gave as an example of “dark-side” is, “Tibetans still do believe Dalai Lama as reincarnation of Buddha of compassion”. I think Tsering is treading into another territory which she has little information except those misrepresented and out of context articles written by certain leftist intellectuals in the west.

    Therefore, my suggestion for Tsering is, don’t represent “entire Tibetans” when write, “represent yourself”, this is still a prevalent disease. Then be specific.

    Finally, if any of the specific points I took out from the Phuntsok’s book is not accurrate, sorry because I read the book few years and that was the most tangible impact I ever had of the book when finishing the book, I still do have that impression.

    Bod Gya Lo

  24. Jamyang-la,

    First off, I don’t think it is fair to think of the people you speak of (Robert Barnett, Patrick French, Andrew Fischer, and Kate Saunders) as being mere extensions of the foreign offices of their respective nations. Perhaps they can think for themselves and came to the conclusion that Tibetan independence is a lost cause. You have dehumanized them and dismissed them out of hand for not having the same views as you.

    That said, I must agree with you on a lot of your points, but perhaps in your famously radical viewpoints you have forgotten the value of tolerance.

    “I always thought the Londons saw China clearly because they had critical distance. They had no ideological, academic, financial, sentimental or even romantic ties to China – all that baggage that Sinologists seem to lug around like long suffering Bactrian camels.”

    Maybe you too lug around too much baggage with you to be writing a completely objective article on such subjects.


  25. And I must agree with Tsering. We Tibetans have shoved our history with the CIA completely, into the dark, to the point that most youths today don’t even know of the existence of this unlikely alliance.

  26. Palden
    Stop accusing me personally. You can disapprove my message.but don’t … hai ya. Your brain is fixed.How many times I have to tell you. You can join CCP cause you are so like them.

    You know why Chinese Student Protested several weeks ago. They said “WESTERN MEDIAS ARE BIAS” Guess what! They are right. WMs are in favor of Tibetans. But this is the first time I heard Tibetan saying WMs are bias.
    I can understand CHinese student’s viewpoint, but I really don’t understand Tibetans claimming that. After all, western media is a product of Capitalism, they are more after money and..Truth.
    Without money, nobody can run any media.

  27. PALDEN

    You really need to understand “An opinion is just an opinion” We are here to discuss the problem, matter our people have including me.We are not here to accuse anybody. So please open your mind.

  28. I cannot comment with any authority on media bias against Tibet, which may operate in the USA or Canada. However in the UK, the BBC has for many years produced and broadcast programmes on Tibet, which conceal and distort the political realities of communist China’s illegal occupation of Tibet. The most recent, ‘A Year in Tibet’ was just such an obsequious example.

    Moreover, the BBC, which is influenced by the UK Foreign Office, a sworn enemy of Tibetan independence, is always extremely careful to present the Tibetan issue in a deliberately slanted fashion, Take for example its consistent use of the term ‘riots’ (a phrase much loved by Xinhua)to describe the recent political, pro-independence, demonstrations inside Tibet.

    Political influence, and pro-China bias is all pervasive and sadly very much alive in the mainstream British media.

  29. As you said, if you misquote something from a book, that is not your opinion, in fact, you are “distorting fact”, not your own “opinion”. I did not accus you and anyone else here, I simply, gracefully disagreed with you and stated why it is the case. Therefore, there is no basis for the blaming of condemnation of you by me. If there is a just cause, then we must accept that is a just cause without compromising the principle of truth. If you compromise the truth, then something is wrong with the person’s logic.

    If my mind is fixed, then it must be fixed on the bare truth which hardly anyone today dare to say, otherwise, they are longer making a politically correct statement.

    When China, by extension, their students or scholars are accused being “Biased” by western media, because they showed the ugly face of Chinese action in Tibet. When Tibetans accus China of being “biased”, because they simply does not recognize the aspiration of Tibetan people, they are more or less fooled by their own geopolitical strategy, mistaken interpretation. Tibetans like Tsering Tashi, really understood why Chinese students were angry, they might have understood they were angry and their logic. But, I am afraid if both of you actually did an extensive research on their claiming and statement. It is as stupid as those Chinese people who are making the blatant and arrogant statement that “Tibet has been part of China since time immemorials”.

    If I truely like the CCP, then I have been happily joined CCP, but the fact is more that that simple and obviously wrong statement.

    Someone still said that Tibet is a “lost cause” and all these so called western Tibetologies are correct are truely disgusting in the sense that Tibetan spirits are very high and China is still grappling with the issue. Those who thought such way are the niave people who truely did not get the aspiration of Tibetans inside Tibet. The reasons, people like Tashi and Tresing did get only authoritative information from these “bare foot” Tibet experts who intentionally or untentionally loose the real aspiration and meaning of statement coming from Tibet. So, lost in translation is the problem.

    Allying with CIA in certain of our history is not at all a dark side of our histry. It was a way and strategy to regain Tibet independence.

    Bod Gya Lo


    ps: If you think I am accusing you personally, then make it clear. Otherwise, you are merely avoiding the main points. Thanks

  30. Hey Tashi
    what’s your problem man? JN did not say Barnett and others were extension of the foreign office of their countrys. Jeff Bow wrote like that in his comment. It was very clear. If you dislike JN so much you even lie like this about him, you should not read his stuffs. Just practise the Dharma.

  31. palden
    you are so dumb enough to fall into Tsering’s trap. you just proved whatever “we are unable to accept dark side” is true. Your English is good but your mind is below Elementary school. You are simple, and narrow minded person.

  32. PALDEN,
    I am speechless again. You always wrote a lot, but there is no point at all. You are living in your own world and your own logic. You are denial to everything you had done or said.

  33. Jeff Bowe
    All the medias in the world called violence protest as RIOT. I didn’t surprise that they called it riot. I would like to know what it should have bedn called for proper way?

    As for western medias, lots of major medias in west are controlled and regulated by Government as well.
    It is just the matter of degree. And of course, in the west, Government have no fully control over small independent medias. So I believe(Palden: It is my opinion only. I mean it is my understanding.) media still have a lot of freedom to report whatever they want. That is why I believe western medias instead of CCTV.

    Tibetan Involvement with CIA was the only bright side that I consider and I am proud of it; it is not the dark side of our history. We Tibetan would have gained our country back, if America would have fully supported us for a long time. In the future, If American or CIA want to operate secret war again to fight Chinese, I will join them right away.

  34. Dear Jamyang,

    Seeing your writing,I wonder that you are a maverick who could be very different from ordinary Tibetans.I don’t know whether Tibetans or Chinese realize whether they are under the Orwellian control but what I know for sure is that Tibeto-Burmans (Burmese) of my country don’t understand they have become the slaves of Big Brother’s Kingdom in their daydreaming ignorance for half a century.

    My learning and speaking to my Tibetans convinced me that Burmese and Tibetans are of the same origin with a very similar natural psychology and linguistics. I think we could share many similar ideas. I would also like to invite you to my blog reflecting my Orwellian State and my insights into Buddhism. Your comments are also most welcome.


  35. Tsering, if you cannot point our specific points to discuss, then stop here. Otherwise, make sure to bring up specific points, don’t generalize. I might be living in my own world, but I am very my much on truth and I am pretty sure what’s going on in the world.

    The problem is, you did not bring the issues you are accusing, in fact you are good at practising finger-pointing. In fact, things are simple, bring issue and let have a discussion. As I stated early, be on points. Now you are trying to be a logical person who is trying to educate an ignorant person. When majority of the people here are arguing with you and your like-minded people, you only resort to accusation rather than discussing logical reasons.

    Avoid that in the future!



  36. Thank you very much for the thoughtprovoking article. At least you made us think and reflect on the issue of Tibet.

    The issue of Tibet, as far as I am concerned, is the illegal occupation of a once indepedent nation by a forein power. Unfortunately, even respected Chinese writers like Wang Li Xiong believes that Tibet has always been part of China.

    Our Tibetan leaders, on the other hand, are trying thier best to avoid the historical status of Tibet by making such comments as “History is history, it would be best to leave it to historians to decide”.. This could a diplomatic ploy to persuade the Chinese to come to a negotiating table, but at the end of the day, we have to make the historical status of Tibet clear, whether Tibet was invaded or Liberated peaceful by signing the 17 point agreement.

    Coming to the signing of the agreement, there was no doubt that Chinese used the threat of force to get the Tibetan delegates signed the agreement. But more than force, which obviously was there, the Chinese used trickery and deception to get the agreement signed from the Tibetans…

    The fact that the Tibetans cooperated with the Chinese authorities for almost nine years, from 1951 (year of the signing of the agreement) to 1959 (the year HH denounced the agreement) speaks volumes about our implicit recognition of the agreement….

    No wonder after fooling the Tibetans around the agreement by promising to maintain the status of His Holiness and the Tibetan aristocrats and lamas, the Chinese destroyed the agreement by implementing the so-called democratic reforms. In other words, the Chinese have used the Tibetan leaders in thier sinister campaign to convert the Tibet and the Tibetans into what they called socialist citizens…

    As they say in Hindi “jab apna hi sikka khota hain to dusron se kya umeed karna…”…

    Long live Tibet…

  37. Again. Yes, I am speaking generally because I don’t want to finger pointing anyone. Can’t you see it??? You said you read the book Tibetan Revolution 5 years ago and forgot everything about it and you were making comments on it.


  38. Dear Jamyang Norbu la,

    It seems that we haven’t been formally introduced, although our paths certainly crossed many times. We probably never met because I was too busy while living in Dharamsala from 1995 to 2001 doing text reproduction work or translations for my elderly lama, or else teaching English at the Gu Chu Sum in my last year there. We did actually meet briefly in 2003, when I was passing through town to give some research training workshops to researchers at the EDD and the TCHRD, but you didn’t take much notice of me at that time. However, had you made a little research effort from your own side before writing this article, you could have easily found out more about my work. For instance, see my webpage;

    You will notice that I have had an engagement with Tibet advocacy groups since the beginning of my research on Tibet. In fact, this is actually a major deficit working against me given that Tibet is treated like the plague in my field of international development studies. I have lost many a grant, fellowship or even job because my work is ‘too Tibet focused’, which is something for you to consider when you lash out at western scholars who decide to dedicate their careers to trying to figure what the hell is actually going on inside Tibet (not in exile) and who usually struggle a lot in their careers as a result. Personally, I am massively in debt because I self-financed most of my research and have done a lot of pro-bono or low paid work on Tibet issues.

    Unlike many shichag Tibetans in Dharamsala, we scholars are not well endowed with western sponsors, particularly those of us working in social sciences rather than religious studies. Indeed, perhaps you can advise me on this, because you seem to be much more savvy than me in having built at least a degree of comfort in your own ‘career’ as maverick Tibetan intellectual (I don’t suggest, as does Jeff Bowe above, that any of us have ‘lucrative careers’ – it is an humourous fantasy, but certainly not my reality).

    In any case, I enjoy your spirit of argument and contention, although I encourage you to remember that we all have a role to play. And may I also suggest that you misrepresented my Guardian comment and took it out of context – I was not arguing for passivity, but rather, for a change of tactics in the context of the Olympic torch protests that were bordering on farcical theatrics.

    Tibet is not South Africa; in terms of power asymmetries, it is more like Aboriginal communities in the US and Canada (with which I also had experience prior to my time living in the Tibetan exile community – I am Canadian by the way). And in any case, we must see South Africa in terms of the end of the Cold War; the pariah apartheid state was no longer needed by the US to carry out its dirty covert cold war operations by a third party. China is of an entirely different order in the current world setting.

    We are all looking for ways through the particular situation in Tibet, and none of us can speak for Tibetans as a whole, but in the meantime, Tibet is changing so quickly, right now, that we must try to influence this situation now rather than waiting for some hypothetical political resolution in a ideal future – and this means engaging with the Chinese government now, like it or not. I know that many of you compare this to Nazis and appeasement, but I think that we have to be very careful with these comparisons. And if fascism is your concern, you should be looking to the US and Iraq in any case – China is really a light-weight in comparison. On the other hand, we must remember that Beijing could quite easily opt for an internal solution in Tibet and be done with it – would you prefer this? It would certainly confirm your cynical suspicions and prove you right, although we must always be careful of self-fulfilling prophesies.

    I look forward to meeting you sometime in the future. I usually wear shoes, but if you prefer to see me as barefoot, I can always wear flipflops.

    Respectfully yours,

  39. Dear Andrew Fischer
    I did not suggest that you or any of the others were selling out for anything so vulgar as money. No one would get involved in academics, much less Tibet studies,if he wanted to make money in the first place. But there are other inducements.

    As the inemitable Perry Link has pointed out anyone involved in China studies (and Tibet studies by extension)or journalists, human rights lawyers, even “whistle-blowers” in the West find it daunting, sometimes impossible to write or speak in explicit contradiction of what the Beijing government has pronounced to be a “fundamental principle.” And the issue of Tibet is surely one of the most fundamental issues for for Beijing.

    I look forward to meeting you one day. What shall it be then? Flipflops at thirty paces?


  40. Dear Jamyang,

    Thanks very much for your article and your kind suggestion that I should post my note that I just wrote to you on your website. I am very happy to do so.

    Firstly, thanks to you and others for engaging with and expanding the discussion of these issues and ideas in your article and in many of the thoughtful comments added to it. It’s very productive and valuable to do this, and I appreciate very much the opportunity you are providing for us all to discuss these important questions further.

    As I mentioned in my note, the quotation from me was incomplete and missed the point of my argument. I had suggested an interpretation of Tibetan protests in which I argued that these protests seem to be declarations both that Tibet is or was independent and at the same time that the protesters would accept autonomy as a solution. Thus they appear to be, at least in some cases, declarations of independence but not demands for independence.

    In the original quotation I explained this interpretation very briefly. I noted that 11 of the 96 protests I studied up to Ap 4th included the display of the Tibetan flag. So I guess that those 11 protests and probably others were in part declarations by participants that they considered Tibet to have been independent. The Tibetan flag could of course have other meanings, but this seems the most likely one.

    Secondly, I noted that these same 11 protests, as well as many other of the protests, also included slogans and banners supporting HH the Dalai Lama, calling for him to be allowed to return, and so on. We shouldn’t choose to notice one slogan and not the other ones, but should analyse both together. Since HH the Daia Lama wants autonomy and since the protesters certainly know this (from the radio broadcasts of VOA, RFA and VOT and so on), I assume that these slogans and declarations mean that the protesters accept his proposal of autonomy. This is presumably because they think that nothing better can be obtained, or possibly they recognise some benefits from association with China. So that’s why I said that they are pragmatic.

    I use this method of interpretation exactly for the reason you mentioned, which is that none of us can go there and do surveys. So instead, this method is done by analyzing the reports and photographs we all are seeing, trying to look at the reports in a relatively complete way, rather than just selecting one item only (“cherrypicking”). In this case, this leads to some very interesting conclusions.

    For example, it suggests that outside commentators and observers of all kinds tend to interpret inside-Tibetan politics as being either pro- or anti-independence or pro- or anti-China. This is clearly a form of Orientalism – it is based on the idea that those people inside Tibet are not very bright or sophisticated and so are only capable of one simple idea at a time. As you have often shown throughout your writings, this is not the case at all. If my interpretation is correct, then it seems that these protesters BOTH think Tibet was independent AND think that the autonomy solution is acceptable. Clearly, then, people inside Tibet are sophisticated, intelligent, thoughtful and have complex, not simplistic, ideas. Anyone who has lived inside Tibet would of course already have known that, but it is easy to forget this when we see dramatic protests in which people risk their lives or when we talk to the press.

    A second implication is that there are different kinds of politics. Probably most are equally valuable and important. Outside politics (as in outside Whitehall, or outside Washington, or outside Tibet, or outside Gangkyi) is usually issue-based – it involves large mobilization around a single objective or motif. It focuses on the very heart of an issue and tries to make sure that issue is not forgotten. It is typically emotional, trying to get widespread feelings aroused about an issue so that it is taken up by the Centre. Inside politics (as inside Washington, inside Tibet or inside Gangkyi) tends to be outcome-based – it argues about what would be a viable solution, what would satisfy the different parties, what could be implemented in practice, and so on. So it tends to involve compromise (often unsatisfactory ones), pragmatism and complex, sometimes contradictory argument. It has much better knowledge of its adversaries, because it has experience of dealing with them. Except in wars and revolutions, the final details of outcomes are decided by the inside-politics, but the pressure comes from the outside-politics. Both deserve respect, not just one.

    So my comments were suggesting that outsiders like me should be paying careful attention to the thinking of Tibetans involved in “inside politics” and respecting their subtlety, because we can see signs that they are displaying the kind of sophistication that is found among political movements that are near the centre of issues. In other articles I have explained this theory in more detail (I think inside Tibetans are using Uradyn Bulag’s notion of a historic contract or promise by the CCP given in the 1950s as leverage to get results from them, rather than the method of using largely rhetorical pressure based on the idea that people or nations have this or that notional “right” in international law or history to something – it’s a small but sophisticated strategic distinction).

    Anyway, I hope this helps explain my comments that you mentioned. By the way, can I say how very moved I was by the kind and generous comments made by you in your article and by others about the work of TIN earlier? I would like to thank all of you for your endless support and tolerance over the years, which has been so moving for all us involved. It is a great tragedy and a major scandal that TIN no longer exists. There were so many Tibetans and others worked so hard for that effort, and I wish so much that it had not been lost. Thanks again.

    Very best wishes, as always,


  41. It was a “major scandal” that Robert Barnett and TIN ignored, diluted and misrepresented the major human rghts issue of coercive birth control in Tibet. The brutalized women of Tibet, whose lives have been forever scarred by the brutal realities of forced sterilisation have little to thank ‘Robbie’ for.

    Lest we find ouselves disorientated from the labyrinthine reasoning offered by the Professor, here are some thought-provoking ‘Barnett-Bites’ for your consideration, taken from his piece on Foreign Policy-26th March and featured on the Columbia University blog.

    Foreign Policy: What does the average Tibetan want? Is it independence, or a greater share of Tibet’s modernization and economic growth,

    Barnett:”Not really either of those things.”

    Barnett: “These protests (my note-March/April 2008) are really about two things: A huge sector of the rural population has said, “Tibet was independent in the past. We reassert that belief. That doesn’t mean we demand that it be independent again, but we are reinserting that into the discussion.”

    Barnett: “And I think we have to get over any suggestion that the Chinese are ill-intentioned or trying to wipe out Tibet.”

    Barnett: “All the party cadres are going to be sent to the countryside areas to listen to the Tibetans’ complaints and find out what has gone so wrong with the policy machine in China”.

    I wonder if Tibetans realised they had spokesperson of such a calibre, able and willing to articulate such a prostitution of the truth about the Tibetan cause and the common political objectives of Tibetans inside Tibet?

  42. Re: Tsering

    Tsering | June 12th, 2008 | 9:27 pm
    Jeff Bowe

    “All the medias in the world called violence protest as RIOT. I didn’t surprise that they called it riot. I would like to know what it should have bedn called for proper way?”

    Well Tsering how about political protests, pro-independence demonstrations? After all that is what they were, NOT a violent explosion of unrest, absent of political objective or motivation, which commonly characterise what we understand to be a ‘riot’.

  43. Hahahahaha. Someone actually wrote that if Jamyang was concerned about fascism he should look at the US and Iraq. And actually suggested or implied that China was not nearly so bad?

    HAHAHAHAHAHA. Sorry, but that spin made me dizzy and makes me think the writer actually seriously believes such silly drivel as to try to make an argument from it.

    Anyway, good article, Jamyang. It provoked much thinking and has now given me means to articulate what I have been sensing for a long time.

  44. Dear Robbie Barnett,

    I do not believe JN took anything out of context in quoting your article. I read the full article you wrote when it was first published, and despite my great respect for much of your work in the past, I was greatly offended by it. In particular it conveyed to me as a reader the idea that you could somehow objectively determine “what Tibetans really want” based on some kind of expert knowledge you purport to have. In reality, there is no such thing as “what Tibetans really want”, only the wishes of individual people, and even those may be difficult to pin down.

    I also do not buy your argument that slogans calling for HHDL’s return to Tibet represent any endorsement of his “autonomy” proposal, which has been watered down to such an extent that even using the word autonomy at all is misleading. As an example to the point that support for HHDL and his return to Tibet is not support for “autonomy”, I’d cite JN himself. Anyone well-read in JN’s essays will realize that he has deep respect for HHDL and wants to see him returned to Tibet and to Tibetans, but that he absolutely opposes the idea of “autonomy” within China. It’s highly patronizing to suggest that people in Tibet are not capable of having the same sentiments, which not-so-surprisingly seem to be the majority sentiment among Tibetans I meet who are recently-arrived from Tibet.

    I believe that your article was written with good intentions but that your judgement was clouded by “wishful thinking” that some sort of autonomy is possible. It is not. Lying that they might somehow grant some sort of autonomy if Tibetans meet enough preconditions will ALWAYS be a more beneficial course of action for China than actually granting autonomy would be, as long as there are enough people around who will continue to believe their lie. Knowing many Tibetans in Tibet and recently from Tibet, I do not think they’re so gullible as to believe this, but many government officals and Western “Tibet supporters” and “Tibetologists” continue to eat up the lies like candy.

    Ironically, the only way autonomy could ever become a viable option is if everyone considers it as a lie, a trap, and an impossibility until the day China is so desperate that they must stop lying about it and actually grant it. And your act of writing an article misportraying autonomy not only as viable but as the “real wish” of the Tibetan people does an incredible disservice to the struggle by moving this bar in the wrong direction.

    I hope you will continue to have a valuable role to play in the future, but I agreed with JN’s words on this article of yours wrong before he wrote them. It’s bad, it’s unscholarly, it’s offensive, and worst of all it sounds like it’s coming from a colonizer’s perspective.


    Rich Felker

  45. Dear Andrew Fischer,

    I was fortunate to see your presentation at the University of Virginia last year and greatly appreciate what you’re doing to shed light on China’s economic/development policies over Tibet. But I agree with JN that your recent statements were unfair and inappropriate. China has been trying their hardest to portray the Tibetan struggle as something originating in Dharamsala (particularly with HHDL), and what you said only serves to mislead people into believing them that the “hard line” comes from exile.

    If you really get involved you’ll quickly see that most of what’s coming out of Dsala is orders from the SC not to protest or only to use ridiculously-long-and-poorly-worded slogans in place of the usual “hard line” demands. When they told people to stop protesting because of the earthquake, it was folks recently from Tibet who insisted on still going and confronting the Chinese as strongly as ever, who made up the protests I attended. I don’t know if the situation is the same in other localities or not but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were.

    For now I’m leaving aside the question of what method is the right method to use. Where I think you really misspoke is in representing exile establishment as the source of “hard line” attitudes when the reality is close to entirely the other way around, thereby supporting China’s propaganda.

    As non-Tibetans, if we want to consider ourselves supporters of Tibet, we have to ask ourselves in each and every deliberation of what to say, whether our words will empower and strengthen Tibetans in their movement, or whether our words will lend credibility to China. And if the answer is the latter, then we need to shut up and tell whoever’s interviewing or asking us that they need to go ask someone Tibetan, rather than pretending we’re qualified to speak for Tibetans.

    Also thanks for your response to JN’s article and your thoughtful consideration of world geopolitics and colonialism and where Tibet and China fall into that picture. It speaks well of you that you discuss and address the issues JN has raised in this forum. I home the words of others here will give you some ideas for avoiding repeated sticky situations in the future.

    Kind regards,


  46. Jeff Bowe
    My point is that the peaceful protest became RIOT. I think demonstrators fighting with police will not be called RIOT, but demonstrators beating innocent people and destroying civilian’s stores will be called RIOT. That is what I have in my thought. Please correct me if you have a better understanding of it.

    But it really does not matter if they called it RIOT or protest. In fact, I like the word RIOT, because it shows a lot of subtext. ” Tibetan in Tibet were showing that they don’t want Chinese in Tibet”.

    THanks JEFF

  47. Tsering, that is a personal and positive interretation of the term ‘riot’, it misses bowever the generally understood definition (and perception) particularly as it applies within English. It is a loaded term, with negative associations, please consider why communist China’s propaganda agency, Xinhua, were so insistent on describing, what were political protests inside Tibet, as riots.

    It was a crude attempt to portray to the world that Tibetans as criminals, looters, and petty vandals, thus avoiding the political truth that in fact Tibetans were demonstrating in support of political and national independence. Beijing was shamefully assisted in this regard by the BBC

  48. Tsering, it’s extremely questionable who is an innocent civilian. I would go so far as saying that no Chinese in Tibet is innocent or civilian except those who are too young or mentally incapacitated to understand their status as part of a hostile military invasion. But even if you don’t want to take such an extreme position, the vast majority of the “Chinese” injured in the so-called riots were actors and police or paramilitary. It’s also known that a number of the bodies shown were actually Tibetan victims falsely described as “Han” on Chinese television.

    So please stop regurgitating Chinese propaganda and lending them credibility. The word riot is simply not appropriate. We have a plenty good words at our disposal like “uprising” and “revolution” which convey the proper meaning.

  49. Andrew, Robbie, Jeff, Rich and Jamyang la
    very encouraging, and good to see such frank discussions take place with such civility, I feel as though I am listening in on a lively debate at the hotel Tibet bar.

    On this I must agree 100 percent with Rich’s comments. I (in exile) personally do for Tibet what Tibetans inside want, and not the other way around (always most inspired when I see and hear of their courageous actions). And being Tibetan, I receive the messages for rangzen more personally and emphatically from Tibetans from Tibet, rather than from Tibetan raised in exile.

  50. Tsering, I think you misunderstood about the beating Chinese on the street by Tibetans. I think you are also fed well with footage came from CCTV. You took the single beating part out and labelled it as “RIOT” as Chinese did. Tibetans in Lhasa are pretty sure who actually started the so called violence. It is said that People’s Bank in Lhasa was first burnt by CHinese troops in Tibetan dress, and similar events also happenned. It is hard for us to verify such a thing, but such a things coming out of Lhasa.

    I am not surprised at all Tibetans beating a Chinese in Tibet given the fact the day to day discrimination that Tibetans have to go through. Chinese are not just setting business in Lhasa, but look down on the Tibetans. Some Chinese restuarants even do not allow Tibetans enter their restaurant because they are dirty and have no money even without actually confirming the person has or has not money.

    Chinese are actually turning the Tibetan and Tibetan culture into a commercial tool to make money. Although Chinese does not like Tibetan traditional songs and dress, but they are using them to make money from tourists.

    I think all these are too much for Tibetans in Tibet to bear. Therefore, they rose up and it was a “political protest” and “demonstration of Tibetans courage to get their country back”.

    There is no country in the world who beat the other when struggling for freedom and national independence. If this is the case, no exception for Tibet. Until we get back country, Tibetan has very right to beat Chinese even if in a personal capacity or in a large mass protest. Therefore, we can no longer idealize ourself into a so called “peaceful-people”. Yes, we love peace, compassion, tolerance, respect, and so on which is the basis of Tibetan culture. However, there is threat to these values and the country, we should caught in the notion of peace and act on the fact how foreigners will perceive us.

    Therefore, every events, including the beating as Tsering described, had a context and causes. Before, labeling it, try to understand the entire context and causes. Put yourself in the shoes of Tibetans in Tibet.


  51. However, there is threat to these values and the country, we should not caught in the notion of peace and act on the fact how foreigners will perceive us.


  52. Palden, I agree entirely with your comments.

    Can you imagine any other struggle for political freedom and national liberation being misrepresented in such a fashion?

    Do the dispossesed peoples of Palestine have non-Palestian ‘exerts’ pontificating from the air-conditioned comfort of Washington DC or London, to the international media, that the Palestinians do not seek independence, but desire autonomy within Israel?

    It is a disgrace that the genuine voice of the Tibetan people is being distorted by such commentators, who seem implacably opposed to the notion of an independent Tibet.

  53. I cannot claim to have read the articles of the western Tibet experts up there that Jamyang Norbu mentions because whenever I start to read articles written by these familiar names, especially the ones that come on the BBC, I have this “glad” feeling in my heart, but almost always, somewhere in the middle, it makes me feel sick in the stomach so I leave them. I experienced these two feelings more frequently during and after the Protest of the olympic torch. I am also disheartened by the olympic torch and its Gurdians, especially the twerps in blue nylon suits, lack of sympathy for our need to protest. I am especially offended by the remark’s ex Mayor Willie Brown of San Francisco made the next morning of the relay when he was describing on tv his experience of carrying the torch…He said something like “There were many enemies but we also had many supporters.” That stang, particulary since he had been through the Civil Rights Movement as a black.
    Anyway, to come back to the point. If anyone really wants to know what Tibetans in Tibet want why doesn’t the UN send a fact finding mission with assurance to protect the Tibetans inside Tibet from retaliatory acts by the Chinese and their government. Many, many of us in the West are from Tibet and have family in Tibet some of whom have been in jail in recent months. What gives any one the right to give up our right for Freedom.

  54. It was very amazing and incredulous to me to read editorials and comments about the current Uprising in Tibet being described as a desire for “meaningful autonomy.” I laughed at it, because i couldn’t really think that people actually believe such nonsense.

    I was also amazed at how so many Western supporters and Buddhists then started to criticize the Uprising in Tibet. Even to the point where some said that Tibetans were betraying themselves by acting forceful. What an amazingly ignorant and perverted view to have!

    I am also gladdened that as Jamyang Norbu has stated, that Tibetans are taking back their movement. The TGIE and the western support groups do not have a right to stifle or spin the Uprising. They need to listen and decide either to get with the movement, or just call a spade a spade and admit to themselves that what they both are really afraid of is Tibetans becoming free from China forcefully, because then both western support groups and the TGIE will lose their status as the current superstars they pass themselves off to be.

    As for “riot.” While I never use the term to describe the Uprising, I am also aware of the slight difference in nuance. Sometimes an oppressed people will use the terminology of their oppressor as a tactic of fear. and this is legitimate. As in the case that perhaps future Chinese settlers will think twice now.

  55. I should add that many in the western Buddhist community shocked me when they tried to denounce me personally as getting too caught up with samsara in my efforts to receive and pass Tibetan information along to others. The joke was on me because i should have known better. Those saps are seeking some fantasy land of buddhahood and care little about Tibetans, though they use bodhisattva language to excuse their lack of caring.

  56. Palden

    “Tsering, I think you misunderstood about the beating Chinese on the street by Tibetans. I think you are also fed well with footage came from CCTV.”

    You see, you are being judgmental here again. I was arguing about the name “RIOT” nothing else. Of course, I believe the videos provided by CCTV were edited and manipulated by Chinese Government. However, the truth is that our people did end up with violence protest.

    Jeff Bowe
    I understand the word RIOT has lots of negativing feeling and meaningj but Could you please suggest a word, I mean what should that be called instead of RIOT. May be “Peaceful RIOT”

    I don’t believe any information from CCTV, nor do i believe information from Dharamsala. Chinese government has lost the credibility, so did TGIE.

    Like i told Palden, I am not a believer of BLACK AND WHITE only. You get different truth from different angle.

    Anyway, if there was a better evidence(footage, newsreel) to show us that the protest went different way, I would believe it, but we only had footage from CCTV. (Pictures worth thousand words)

    All your messages that you posted were Cliche, purely propaganda. I doubt that you are working for TGIE. Your English is good but your mind is below Elementary school. I am sure you can be a good ENGLISH teacher or English man, but anything to do with politics.

  57. Hugh, in relation to your experiences of Dharma practitioners, I too have experienced some who follow a self-centred path towards ‘enlightenment’ (itself [ie-self] surely a false and ego-based illusion?) blissfully indifferent to the suffering and oppression of the very culture which enabled them to pursue the rarified complexities of Buddhist philisophy.

    Tsering, riots break out at football (soccer) tournaments, or erupt when socially deprived people take to the streets, in an orgy of anger.

    Demonstrations, on-the-other-hand, have a political heartbeat a clear objective, usually to overcome some form of oppresion. Ipso-facto Tibetans inside Tibet were politically demonstrating for their freedom and independence. I trust, on this occasion, the meaning is somewhat clearer?

  58. In a dictionary, it says ” a situation in which a corwd of people behaves in a violent and uncontrolled way.

    I understand it was not appropriate to call it simply RIOT. I mean people who understand Tibet history and situation will understand it.

    What surprised me the most was that Dalai Lama’s call for resignation if violent continues.” No wonder, people called it RIOT.

  59. Tsering, I welcome your reconsideration of the term ‘riot’.

    As to comments by the Dalai Lama, they must be viewed against his sincere comittment to Buddhist principles of non-violence, whereby agression or ill-thought of any sort, towards any lifeform may be defined, within the rarified and profound analysis of Buddhism, as ‘violence’.

    Therefore, to conclude that because the Tibetan leader issued such a comment somehow authenticates a description of the unrest inside Tibet as ‘riots’ is fallacious reasoning.

    The protests were a political expression that demanded national liberation for Tibet.

  60. [The comment below appears to be a fake. The email originated from Chennai and the website given is also a fake. We request readers and commenters not to use this discussion forum for such personal and underhand attacks on JN or other commenters.]

    Jamyang’s writings as usual contains a lot of misinterpretations when it comes to HHDL & CTA- I wonder-is HE deliberatly doing it to get patronize from those who have ill feelings against it or a sign of deep rooted psychic case ozing out of the case that he never succeded to get any high positions in the system. Like others, I do agree that the level of Tibetan moments through out its history has been weak and never been strong because we have failed to give a unified political right. Firstly due to very low literacy rate and secondly due to intervenning events and exteranl circumstances. It is not because of one person or arong of the institutions.

  61. Dear Jamyang and all,

    I appreciate your point, but if you actually read my work on Chinese policies in Tibet you will see that I do not restrain myself from contradicting ‘fundamental Beijing principle’. However, I also do not restrain myself from contradicting fundamental Dharamsala principle, as you will note from some of my articles. In the former case, my previous open criticisms of Chinese policies in Tibet have made it impossible for me to do any official research in the TAR. In this regard, I think you (and others) have to be very careful in simply lumping all scholars and authors together in the same knee jerk basket.

    The reason that China scholars, and many Tibet scholars who work in Tibet, are wary to contradict ‘fundamental principle’ is that their careers depend on continued access to the regions they study. Thus, they weigh the pros and cons and make their own moral choices, which few of us can judge (because most of them are extremely conscientious people and a large part of their consideration is related to the risk of endangering their contacts/friends in China/Tibet). Personally, I am not constrained by the consideration of access because I could quite simply move my research elsewhere. Indeed, as you suggest, I am considering starting some research on similar issues in Palestine. Also, a lot of my research relies on publicly available statistical sources, which require no specific access. Thus, I have been much more risky in making strong criticisms of Beijing policy than most scholars who work inside Tibet, and in fact I have never tempered any of my opinions due to a concern for ‘fundamental principle’. I have accepted the results, such as being barred access from doing research in Tibet in the future, but the reality is that many people who have been trying to positively influence Chinese policies have advised me to temper my tone and to be more conciliatory so that my work actually has a chance of influencing policy makers in China. Most importantly, it has been my Tibetan friends and colleagues in Tibet (most of whom are very nationalist, but not necessarily secessionist) who have advised me most strongly to do this, because they want to continue seeing me working on issues inside Tibet rather than leaving the field altogether due to having burnt too many bridges. So, which moral imperative do you suggest I should follow? In the name of gaining your praise, should I cut all of my possibilities of doing future field research in Tibet? It is a rhetorical question.

    As for the comments of Rich, again, I think you misinterpret my Guardian comment. In that comment, I was actually advocating that TSGs should line up explicitly in support of HH the Dalai Lama’s position (no boycott, support the Olympics) in order to show that he is the man to negotiate with and also to avoid backfiring the pressures for negotiation that had emerged from the protests in March, as well as to avoid a major backlash from Chinese people. So I actually was not characterising the exile government or mainstream exile establishments as hard core nationalist (although I might have slipped somewhat because I also questioned the assertion on cultural genocide, which HH continues to assert). Most TSGs were also differentiating themselves from the boycott message, it is true, but they focused their campaigning on stopping western leaders from attending the opening ceremonies or stopping the torch from passing through the TAR. These subtleties were hard to differentiate for the general public and for most Chinese people. I acknowledge that JN is probably one of the people who I would attribute as a hard core nationalist in this comment, although I am sure that he would wear this badge with pride. Another concern of mine was that the focus was being lost – TSGs were perceiving media attention on demonstrations around the western world as a major campaign success, whereas I was in constant contact with journalists from major newspapers who were complaining that their stories about Patriotic Education Campaigns and other attempts at serious reporting inside Tibet were being cut because their newspapers had decided to run stories on the Paris demos instead, etc etc. I knew I would upset a lot of you and receive all of the typical knee jerk reactions as listed above in these comments, but I felt that someone had to say something to temper the collective campaigning euphoria. Obviously, no one likes to have their party disrupted; neither Beijing nor TSG campaigners.

    On a last note about representing Tibetans; I agree, to an extent. I personally always encourage journalists to contact Tibetans, and they usually have before contacting me in any case. Often, it is Tibetans who have directed them to me in the first place. None of us choose what journalists report and all of us have to act in very skilful ways so as to influence their reporting in the best possible way. I would also be very interested to train some young Tibetans in the type of economic development analysis that I do so that Tibetans themselves could take over the work I am doing. That being said, 98 percent of Tibetans live in Tibet, not in exile. Those who do live in exile are thus a biased sample, particularly those newcomers who actively demonstrate (I know many newcomers who are completely politically apathetic and feel marginalised by exile politics in any case, but that is another story). So, there is a problem here of representation from both sides of the spectrum. In the absence of voice for most Tibetans inside Tibet, Tibetans in exile claim to speak for Tibetans in Tibet, and those Tibetans who contradict the exile orthodoxy (even including that of JN in this case – I speak of a wider paradigmatic orthodoxy that has been forged by the nationalist ideology of the exile community) are represented as collaborators, traitors, coerced, or simply as not really Tibetan. Personally, in my own experience from almost two years of fieldwork in Tibet, from a wide range of Tibetans from nomads and farmers to teachers, lamas and government officials, I have heard many views that are simply not even closely represented by this or similar blogs from the exile community.

    Thus, one quickly learns that truth is not found in any of the polarised views. We have no way of knowing what the majority view of the 98% of Tibetans who live in Tibet is. We know most want His Holiness back and most are disgruntled with various aspects of Chinese rule, but beyond that, we really do not have a clue and we cannot assume we know either. From the little we do know, we can probably assume that the majority would be strongly in favor of at least supporting the position of HH. Beyond this, assertions are at best conjecture or theory, and they lie in the realm of advocacy politics. Just because a Tibetan is a Tibetan does not mean he or she represents all Tibetans; he or she still represents his or her own political views, which may or may not represent the majority of Tibetans. In this sense, TSGs and even the TGIE are not representative bodies – they have to be careful when they say that they represent such and such people.

    Personally, my only fundamental principle is truth, and of course my wish to benefit through truth. But I realise that truth can be threatening to those who are convinced of their views, particularly when their views are very polarised, black and white, or coloured by their wider ideologies or prisms of seeing the world. I am always prepared to modify my analysis, or even repudiate it, if new evidence proves me wrong – are any of you? Or do you simply read into every event a reflection of your own opinions?

    And Jeff, if you were outraged by Robbie’s position on forced birth control, you will be scandalised by my own writing on this subject, which you can find in either my 2004 working paper (‘Urban Fault Lines’) or else my contribution on population in the volume entitled Authenticating Tibet (UC Press, 2008).

    All the best,

  62. Well Andrew I certainly hope with respect to the horrors of forced sterilisations inside Tibet, that you do not fall into category of ‘do not confuse me with the facts as I have already made up my mind’?

    Then again you would not be the first writer/researcher with a callous indifference to the subject, or a merciless scepticism of the testimony of Tibetan women who have been traumatised by communist China’s ‘enlightened’ birth-control policies.

    Interesting symmetry how those ‘commentators’ who assiduously misrepresent the political objectives of the Tibetan cause, and are opposed to the concept of an independent Tibet, appear to harbour a pathological refusal to accept the brutal realities of China’s coercive population control programme. One wonders, had such opinion been present during the period of the Nazi occupation of Poland, if it would be crowing that there was insufficient evidence of the forcible sterilisation of Gypsy women.

  63. Dear Jamyang La:

    Congratulations! You have brought together Tibet related people from different perspectives, walks of life and ideological spectrums to discuss about an issue that is so important for all of us.

    Seeing Robbie, Jeb Bow, Tsering Shakya, Tashi Rabgye, Lobsang Rabgye, Palden Gyal, Andrew, Tsering Togyal to talk about this important issue is great! However, how about we organize a weekend conference to talk about these issues?

    This is a timely and a calling history to address this important issue.



  64. Actually, Andrew Fischer’s paper on Tibeto-Muslim relations
    is one I greatly admire. It investigates what is actually happening, and not what Beijing and/or Dharamsala thinks ought to be happening.
    I think as a researcher he’s deserves considerable credit for integrity,
    and I think that’s saying something!

  65. The concerns or questions regarding such commentators relates, not to their ability to conduct research, or any semblence of integrity which they may have. The central critique postulated by Jamyang, and one which I personally share, is the misleading and skewed nature of their output, with specific respect to the political objectives of the Tibetan people, and recent demonstrations inside Tibet.

    If we are to accept the ‘expert’ views of the aforementioned, unlike other dispossessed peoples, Tibetans are it would seem not possessed of a unified desire to see their culture and country enjoying national sovereignty.

    I suppose such ‘authorities’ would have considered the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa as some minority voice, and composed a tortuous sophistry to convince the world, that in reality, black people could not be regarded as having a single political objective. No doubt they would argue that there existed within the deprived townships extremely divergent aspirations, including a happy willingness to support a continuation of the machinery of racial discrimination and Apartheid!

  66. Andrew Fischer, with all due respect, the suggestion that TSGs should get “in line” with the Dalai Lama’s policies is the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard you say. All that does is prove the Chinese right and demonstrate that everything is masterminded by the Dalai Lama, which is simply not the case. China and the world need to see again and again that HHDL is telling the truth when he says “I have no such power” (to stop the demonstrations). Only then does he have any legitimacy to negotiate.

    And as far as negotiation is concerned, only a complete idiot would try to negotiate from a standpoint of already having given away all of one’s leverage. This may work when resolving personal conflicts with one’s parents or friends or lovers, but to suggest that it is a viable course of action when dealing with the most morally bankrupt empire on the planet is completely laughable. HHDL has some small degree of negotiating leverage because the Tibetan people, rightly so, will not give up. And if more of the “Tibet-friendly” westerners had some bit of sense instead of becoming permanently stoned on shallow “let’s all love each other” pop-philosophy, he’d have a good bit more leverage.

    Regardless, I’m seriously doubtful that we’ll ever see anything come of negotiations, whatever leverage folks can lend to HHDL. Freedom is not something handed to you on a plate. It’s something fought for and won with great risk and sacrifice. I believe in the people who are willing to pursue and sustain that and I have no room in my heart for people who would sell them out.

  67. Rich,

    In my experience an overwhelming majority of so-called Tibet Support Groups are already prostrating to the inane and vacuous ‘stategy of appeasement’ of the TGIE.

  68. Sorry, Andrew Fischer, but your contention that the exiles, even recent escapees, are a biased “sample” is the same contention used by the PRC advocates. This surely would mean you were one of those advocates. I hope you realize this.

    I first came across this line of thinking by reading the wikipedia entry on Tibet, actually the talk pages. Where blab after blab stated that no one can listen to the exiles and escapees because they were already tainted against China. Are you effing kidding me?

    So if a policeman slaps my face and i complain about this, i am discredited because i am biased? Hahahahaha.

    Perhaps “bias” here just means “anyone who disagrees with both China’s and the official Western media’s take on Tibet.” Funny how i never meet anyone born in Tibet who wants anything less than independence.

    The idea that you can separate “nationalism” from “secessionism” in this case is a pernicious trap. So when a country invades yours, and you seek to free it from that invasion, you are now a secessionist? It must be hard to keep up this intellectual gaming of pretense.

    As for myself, i am no researcher or scholar by any means, but i have been around the block a few times. Because of things i have written and spoken, i won’t be able to even set foot in China. Oh well. Not like I would miss that much. But I wouldn’t mind visiting Tibet in the future when it is finally free. If i live to see such a time. Whether I do or not, i am certain Tibetans will regain their freedom and sovereignty.

    As for meaningful autonomy, my own view is fish farts on that! Tibet is already legally autonomous within the PRC. Hello? Anyone out there realize that yet? So what would the “meaningful” autonomy actually accomplish when Tibet is ruled by an empire that sees itself as the only arbiter of human values and civilization, whereby all its captive nations are only free to become Chinese?

    Empires always appear so large and powerful. Some appearing to decline, some not so much. And then they shatter suddenly.

  69. Patrick French writes and sell Tibet, Tibet, but how weird is that that he thinks the cause of the Tibet was lost as early as in 1950s?? Such demoralizing stance by an acclaimed western writers is despicable and it simply shows killing the very own cow after the milking is exhausted for meat. Especially when Tibetan people still cling to hope despite dire situations, it hurts when a people in the free world chooses to capitalize on our sufferings, drumping the beat of our oppressor.

    As we, TIbetans typically say, our enemy is China’s presence and policy in Tibet, not the Chinese people, most common Tibetans would not even be bothered about reading, least response to such western writers or Tibet scholar’s writings on Tibet, be it good or bad, but ofcourse any undue hindrance on our sacred national struggle by anyone must now be answered for and warned off, as we now cannot bear any untoward or untruth stories on our struggle because of the nature its criticality now as deaths and sufferings in Tibet is beyond descriptions. Jamyang Norbu la is rightfully putting plug in such leakages of publications by flip-flopping John Kerry sort of so called western Tibet scholars and writers.
    No matter what, our cause may seem impossible but please don’t underestimate us on our jollyness when it comes to our resolve to our national struggle which is Rangzen.

  70. [The comment posted by Lobsang Senge appears to be a fake. The email originated from Chennai and the website given is also a fake. We request readers and commenters not to use this discussion forum for such personal and underhand attacks on JN or other commenters.]

    Lobsang Senge,

    Such comments coming out of a Havard educated professer doesn’t do any justice to your education. Your comments reflect your personal disliking for Jamyang Norbu and lacks intellectualism. I think it’s actually you who advocated different stands, independence at one point and autonomy at others. You lack the moral courage and principal to take a firm stand. Like it or not, Jamyang Norbu has been consistent in his stand and writing for decades. Most Tibetans know that. He is not the guy who would kowtow like you to gain favors. Jamyang had positions of authority in TGIE and chose to resign out of principle.

  71. Tsering, the information I posted is directly received from Lhasa and Tibet. If people in Tibet are lying, then it is obviously a false, otherwise it is a truth for now coz information is blacked out now. Most of the information is also received by TCRC. I would rather believe information coming from Lhasa and other Tibetan areas than your bullshit inside here.

    Again, you are getting personal like a little kid. I did not see any of your posting is interested and logical as well.


  72. Hugh and Palden la,

    Bravo on your comments!

    The handful of so-called Tibet scholars who peddle such messsages of despair, misrepresentation and defeatism, should be forcefully challenged.

    Indeed, while I understand Palden’s observation about most Tibean’s not reading or responding to the poisonous ‘reasoning’ of Barnett et al, I would respectfully ask, if it is not time for Tibetans to do just that, regain control of their cause, and more pertinent to this current discussion how it’s presented in the media?

    Currently the same ‘expert commentators’ appear on the merry-go-round, all issuing remarkably similar messages, that distort and conceal the true nature of the Tibetan cause and objectives and actions of those inside Tibet. Such people, who have for years presented a deliberately distorted image of Tibet, demand to be publicly exposed and hopefully replaced as the voice of authority and balance.

    Would it be too much to hope that a statement of no confidence could be organised by Tibetans, who do care about how the issue of Tibet is being consistently perverted by these individuals. In conjunction with the establishment of a Tibetan media-spokesperson, who could respond to, and co-ordinate, key information, such a declaration would prove rather effective.

    I hesitate to invite any specific Tibetan to take the lead in such an initiative, but surely such action is sorely needed?

  73. Palden

    You are not getting my point as usual. I said “Footage or newsreel that we can convince the world media that it was not the “RIOT” I didn’t doubt about the fact that our case is not simple as riot, Neither I said that our people were lying. Palden, please for the sake of our cause, please stop taking personal.

  74. [The comment posted by Lobsang Senge appears to be a fake. The email originated from Chennai and the website given is also a fake. We request readers and commenters not to use this discussion forum for such personal and underhand attacks on JN or other commenters.]

    Lobsang Senge,
    You are right, our level of struggle had been weak due to low litracy in the past. Reading your comment (coming from a ‘harvard educated scholar’)there’s no mistaking that we haven’t improved a bit on it, even after some of us getting an ‘ivy league’ education. I wonder what would you suggest to improve this stagnation.

  75. Tsering, you are so ignorant and assuming a lot of things. It is apparently you are jealous of others achievement. “Sympathetic seat”? Well, fullbright is given to many STUDENTS from developing countries, luckily Tibetans are one of them. It shows Tibetans are not the only one in the group (Do some research!). It is not just for Tibetans. Also, all fullbrights are not retained by the University after graduation except the student not just got a degree for the sake of getting one, but should be promising, academic, and successful person. Do you think Harward hire a student on the basis of the condition? No, they hire because the person deserved it. Lobsang Senge clearly showed it and he was selected as one of Asian young pioneers few years. Also, he does a great many researches. Therefore, please lay down your prejudices. Tibetans like you, thwart Tibetans from growing. Anyway, the person who posted under the name Lobsang Sange is not the Dr. Lobsang from Harward, it is obvious from the content and way of writing. Many people are easily taken by it. The person must have some problems with some people, using others name in public forum and posting nonesense.

    Tsering, if you want to be successful, study hard and be a success yourself. Don’t try to full others leg down.

    Let you know, I am neither working for TGIE nor someone in India or Nepal. I am saying this because you had your own assumption. Therefore, I take this opportunity and shed your pretense and assumption, and put it to a rest.

    Grow up!


  76. Duh um… ahem! Don’t all the academic experts agree that when demonstrators in Tibet (I will not use that TAR term) express their demands, they always demand independence? Along with other demands, such as the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, of course. Sure they can be motivated by other factors as well, including those ‘more practical’ [economic] concerns mentioned by some. And I’d add that there is often an immediate motive of demanding that particular prisoners be released! No contradiction. Well, is there? So far I haven’t heard that they were demanding that any other Tibetans besides H.H. be invited back. Perhaps they forgot to mention Jamyang Norbu and some of you other guys. I’m sure they really do want you even if they don’t put it at the top of the list. Sorry if I cause anyone any grief with my crude understandings that have been developed over the last 20-some years. Delusions can be long-lasting or so my Buddhist friends tell me.

  77. I commented previously about a personal hope that Tibetans, as Jamyang has suggested, are regaining control of their cause, and expressing a demand for Tibet’s legitimate political and territorial independence.

    While this is a welcome and sorely needed progression, there are still key areas which are occupied by those who advocate a surrender Tibet’s nationhood in exchange for what effectively would remain slavery under commnist China’s bloody-maw.

    Such individuals should be replaced, from what are relatively influential media positions, by Tibetan commentators who can report on the Tibetan issue without the distorting prism of pro-Chinese sympathies, or pseudo-intellectual voyeurism, that seems to negatively colour the writings of the aforemnetioned ‘experts’. The Tibetan cause after all is the birth-right of the Tibetan people, who better to ensure the media is provide with an accurate picture as possible?

    Meanwhile, as if to underline the importance of Tibetans taking control of the struggle for Rangzen, I received an email from the Tibet Society-UK (and also the Tibet office in London) that invited me to join a protest ouside the Chinese Embassy in London to oppose the arrival of the Olympic Torch in Tibet. The “key messages” of the event are stated to be:

    “Stop the killing in Tibet” “China: talk to the Dalai Lama” “Red Cross to Tibet” “Media access in Tibet”.

    Now this demonstration is being organised jointly by UK Tibet support groups: including Students for Free Tibet, Tibetan UK Youth, Free Tibet Campaign and the Tibet Society. I understand the Tibetan Community in Britain is also involved.

    Now here’s the prize question: why is that between them all these organisations seem unwilling to express solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet, by expressing at the demonstration, THE key message of ‘Independence for Tibet’?

    Some clues for your consideration. Non-Tibetans running the show, Foreign Office influence, and prominent Tibetans who conform to whatever is demanded by the TGIE.

    It is indeed surely time that the orthodoxy of defeatism, despaire and dewey-eyed appeasement was replaced by a movement that reflects the courage, dedication and sacrifice of those Tibetans inside Tibet.

  78. It is not TGIE but you who are misleading throughout this discussion. Do you know what you are trying to say-I sincerely believe that TGIE has calculated all possible scenarios and came to the existing stand. My dear Jeff, the name sounds that you may not necessarily have to bear the consequences of the shifting back like me. You do not know what will happen to the people in Tibet and South east Asia. Do not bullshit here! HHDL & TGIE has plenty of well known people in the establishments and institutions for consultations. Their offices are well spread out in all important capital cities. Most importanly, SHE get direct information from Tibet from Tibetans on daily basis. They are intelligent enough to challenge far greater to their size. Your comments are highly emotive and malicing in nature. You are just looking through single lense perspective which dangerous so it must be condemned outright.

  79. John,

    May I ask if you witnessed the recent protests inside Tibet? Did you note the obvious fact that the overwhelming message of such demonstrations was for Tibetan independence. It is a common aspiration of of Tibetans, as evidenced by the politicla objectives of the uprsings which took place across Tibet during March and April.

    Historically one only has to review the countless numbers of similar protests, or note the courageous actios of political prisoners to acknowledge that the desire for independence amongst Tibetans burns deeply.

    Permit me to give you an example of just how profound that objective and dream is. In 2000 I attended the Berlin Conference on Tibet at which a former political prisoner, a Khamba I recall, gave a speech, just several feet away from the Dalai Lama, who at the time, as now, was promoting association with China, in which he affirmed that Tibetans inside Tibet. It took an incredible amount of courage and dtermination to sad there an address the delegates, particularly with the Tibetan leader present. Yet it obviously was vital for him to ensure that people were made aware exactly what the nature of the Tibean cause is. That goal remains, and if the recent events inside Tibet are an indication has been invested with even greater emphasis and resolve.

    My sympathy and support rests with those Tibetans inside Tibet and I am in full solidarity with their objectives for national sovereignty. Over 100 countries have regained their independence ince the Second World War, why should Tibetans settle for anything less!

    As to the TGIE (and its more sycophantic supporters), the reality is that they are completely at odds with the political goals and hopes of their own people. Tibetans did not take to the streets to face bullets, prison and toture carrying wishy-washy slogans which read “China-Talk with the Dalai Lama” or “Media in Tibet”. Their “key message” was Bod-Rangzen!

  80. In trying to understand the odd behavior of so many inji “supporters”, I’ve been pondering a survey-style list of questions to ask folks who consider themselves non-Tibetan Tibet supporters. Here’s a sort of draft of that. Maybe someone with an interest could take and improve upon this and conduct a real survey. I think it would be interesting both for Tibetans and non-Tibetan rangzen supporters to know how our not-so-rangzen-friendly counterparts answer questions like these. Please suggest more along the same lines if you think of any.


    For each question, number all answers which apply (1 for most-applicable, 2 for second-most, etc.). Leave any answers which do not apply unmarked.

    1. What is your primary personal connection to Tibet and Tibetan issues?
    ___ Primarily-non-Tibetan support organization
    ___ Research/academic interest
    ___ Development or charity NGOs working in Tibet
    ___ Development or charity NGOs working in India/Nepal
    ___ Tibetan friends, primarily from India, Nepal, and the West
    ___ Tibetan friends, primarily from Tibet or living in Tibet
    ___ Other (please specify)

    2. What are your loyalties with regards to Tibet and China?
    ___ The Dharma
    ___ Nonviolence
    ___ Stability and harmony of China, including Tibet
    ___ HH the Dalai Lama
    ___ Ordinary Tibetan people in Tibet
    ___ Ordinary Tibetan people in exile

    3. What sources do you most trust for news and opinions on Tibet and China?
    ___ Xinhua and/or other Chinese sources
    ___ Tibetan Government in Exile
    ___ BBC
    ___ Mainstream US TV media (specify)
    ___ Mainstream US print media (specify)
    ___ Radio Free Asia and/or Voice of America Tibetan service
    ___ Word of mouth accounts from Tibetans or friends of Tibetans
    ___ Formal testimony of Tibetan witnesses and survivors
    ___ Direct sources in Tibet

    4. Which of the following statements do you agree with?
    ___ Tibetans living outside Tibet have had access to modern education and understanding of world affairs which makes them better-qualified to decide how to deal with China.
    ___ Tibetans living in Tibet have first-hand experience of China’s policies and attitudes which makes them better-qualified to decide how to deal with China.
    ___ The Dalai Lama, as a living Buddha, is the best-qualified to make any decision regarding Tibet and China.
    ___ The Dalai Lama, being universally revered by Tibetans, is the best-qualified to make any decision regarding Tibet and China.

    5. Which of the following outcomes do you consider obtainable or practical for Tibet in the long term?
    ___ Preservation of language and distinct identity in a progressive China without any negotiated self-governance for Tibetans.
    ___ Negotiated “genuine autonomy” within the PRC
    ___ Independence

    6. Which of the following TSGs or Tibetan organizations would you consider making a donation to?
    ___ Tibetan Youth Congress
    ___ Students for a Free Tibet
    ___ International Campaign for Tibet
    ___ Free Tibet Campaign UK
    ___ International Tibet Independence Movement
    ___ Tibetan Women’s Association
    ___ Friends of Tibet, India
    ___ Your local Tibetan association


  81. Rich,

    I would like to submit my reactions to your survey.

    Question 1: Consider giving examples for each of these categories, and also add a choice for “Dharma/Tibetan Buddhism”

    Question 2: Could you think of another way to phrase this to make your meaning more clear? I can infer the meaning of the question from the answer, but I think the question itself could be more clear.

    Question 6: Perhaps you could split this into two questions, asking first which of the organizations the responder currently supports, and then which of the organizations the responder would also consider supporting. You might want to add the Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement to the list?

    I think that it would be interesting to survey all of the non-Tibetans associated with the Tibetan cause – whether they support rangzen or not. This could provide important information for all of the support groups.

    Personally, I pray for rangzen every day, and would be willing to take substantive action, if only someone would provide clear guidance as to what that might be.

    I love and honor His Holiness. I recognize that he is doing what he believes is best for his people. But, with all due respect, I disagree with him on this one point, rangzen. Some of my Buddhist friends point to this as an example of arrogance: If His Holiness wants autonomy, who am I to ask for freedom? Those who have bumper stickers on their cars choose the “Save Tibet” variety; mine is the old “Free Tibet” sticker. As an American, I don’t find it inconsistent simultaneously to love His Holiness and to disagree with him.

  82. Time for the USA to Peacefully Liberate Mexico

    OK, let China keep Tibet. But along the same lines of reasoning, it’s high time for the US to peacefully liberate Mexico. Why not? It’s a poorer country than ours; lags the US in economic development; and at various points in history, the borders between the two have been ambiguous. Most importantly, though, our way of life is clearly superior to theirs, and it’s about time they learned the American way of doing things.

    Ignore the vast differences of culture and language that separate the two nations. Overlook the small fact that Mexico is a separate country with its own government. And let us push aside, most of all, the fact that Mexico does not wish to be governed as part of the US.

    Scholars can argue until doomsday, and never resolve, the issue about whether or not Tibet was ever, historically, a part of China. We can try to ignore the unbridgeable gaps in culture and language that separate Tibet and China. What we cannot ignore, and what is of more current and immediate import, is the fact that Tibetans do not wish to be governed by Beijing. If we Americans could all recall our 8th grade civics class for a moment, we might remember that this country was founded on the idea that people ought to be able to choose their own government. This has been the general view of things at least since the Enlightenment.

    It should come as no surprise to any of us that Poland and the Czech Republic were the first countries to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Games. Their memories of being ruled by an invading, military tyranny are very real and very recent. It is right that they should stand in solidarity with others who are similarly oppressed. And it is wrong for the US to do otherwise.

    The Tibetans did not welcome the invasion by China, any more than Mexico would welcome the sight of US tanks rolling across her real estate to claim her oil and beaches. Tibetans have the same right to determine their own government as we or anyone else. To maintain otherwise is to say that Tibetans are less than human. The last time we allowed one group of people to be seen as less than human, the Holocaust was the result.

  83. Jeff
    Do you know what were/are the main content of those slogans. You are just singling out just one slogan and gives your own interpretation. With all due respect and honour to the recent upriisng by the brive Tibetans, I would still consider it as not so strong in its nature which may have some accountable political impact. The moment is basically culturally and religiuos motivated where much larger majority are still in doldrums. Ranzen as a word and slogan is much older and easier for everyone to say. There are no popular slogan for MP perse. The most popular slogan has been the home coming of HHDL. Is is more akin to MP than to rangzen. My own expereinces show that TGIE do not need sychophant but unfortunately there are such people everywhere. You may be one when it has to serve your interest. How can I believe you do not have a self serving ego and interest. What do you do when you have to get a favour from JN?

  84. Rich
    What is the need for such questions! The result can be easily read from your questions and its vicious intend. One result is that Tibetans should not trust “inji” so much because they are there as long as their belly is to be filled. Their interest is their carreer and professions. None of them interests Tibetans issue because of their imcompatible entry point which also will become their exit door. In doing so they will prostitute themsleves or sell Tibet to anybody -be it communist or capitalist.

    If you still doubt the role of HHDL & TGIE- HHDL is not just the most revered or God king of Tibet, HE is also the longest serving Tibetan at the helm of Tibetan affairs. By dint of it, has the most contacts in and out -to larger world hence most resourceful of all Tibetan. I do not mean that HE is therefore infallible. As such the matters concerning Sino-Tibet issues are discussed, consulted and debated before any major decision is taken. So far everything has been going very well. At least Tibetans have nor problem with it.

  85. John,

    Of course if you choose to ignore the political reality that Tibetans inside Tbet are struggling for their nation’s independence then that is your freedom.

    I presume, given your obvious devotion to the policies of the TGIE, that you have no personal objections to considering yourself as ethhic Chinese, as opposed to a Tibetan?

  86. Who says struggling to get an autonomy is like Tibetan becoming ethnic Chinese? How will you prevent such things, if at all existed, under Independent. Tibet is a land locked territory adjoining China and India.

  87. John,

    With all due respect, I noticed how you responded to both Jeff and Rich but not Thupten Dolma who also responded to your previous comment. I wondered whether you even glanced over what she said or whether you actively chose to not respond to her; cause at the end of the day, the Tibetan people, like me and her know what we want regarding our future and I too share her feelings regarding HH. It is not easy for us to openly come out in respectfully disagreeing with HH’s stand no matter what his honorable intention regarding RANGZEN and that is what I notice you missing the point on.

    Tibetan’s inside face the actual colonial occupation while we on the outside face statelessness; We welcome and need help offered by people such as yourself, but regarding what we want Tibet’s future to be, leave it to us, even if that means disagreeing with TGIE and HH while still carrying him in our hearts.

    I might add, TGIE is def far from perfect and I say that from experience.

  88. John,

    With all due respect, you are full of yourself.

    Autonomy is currently what Tibet has under the PRC. And look at what the freak show has brought Tibetans since 1965, when the TAR was declared, in response to UN inquiries to China about the accounts of population drop in Tibet. China to this day has never conducted anything in the way of a census. They just use estimates. Absurd, considering their massive security apparatus in Tibetan areas.

    Independence has been clearly what the majority of Tibetans have expressed as their goal, since the 1950 invasion. It is absurd to water their cries and shouts of Bhoe Rangzen down to “meaningful autonomy for Tibet.”

    Your attack on Rich is a strawman argument. He didn’t imply that injiy supporters were not to be trusted. His idea was that it would be nice to have an assessment of where they may stand and why. This is useful.

    Also, your arguments against Jeff are baseless. You will need to support such with some evidence beyond mere assertions. And I assume you are western because of your name. So do please clean up your writing style a bit. It seems muddled and full of mistakes which make it very difficult to read. I make exceptions for those who use ESL, but I admit that I am hard on those who use EFL who make such elementary mistakes.

  89. John,

    Another thing, arguing that Independence for Tibet is unfeasible because it is a landlocked country is silly. Or have you not learned geography lessons about the region?

  90. Dear Mr. John,

    You said:
    “So far everything has been going very well. At least Tibetans have no problem with it.”

    So far what is going very well? How do you know that Tibetans have no problem with it?
    Could you please elaborate?

    If you mean that TGIE’s Tibet strategy is going very well, then why are Tibetans still risking their lives to fight against China?

    You can’t be any further from the truth if you think that Tibetans have no problem with TGIE’s Tibet strategy.

    No one has the right to give up Tibet’s independance. Not even Dalai Lama.

    Thousands of people gave their lives to safeguard it, and many Tibetans inside Tibet are continuing to fight for Tibet with their lives. We owe it to them to not make their supreme sacrifice go to waste.

    It is our duty to the future generations to keep the dream of an independant Tibet alive.

    We the Tibetans of this generation (for that matter any generation)do not have the right to give away Tibet’s independance.
    We thank any foreigner who wish to support us, but they also need to understand that they should not force their decisions on us.
    If they did that, then they are not any better than the Chinese. After all Chinese always contend that they “liberated” and “developed” Tibet. But we never asked them to “liberate” or “develop” us to begin with, leave alone the issue of whether the so called “libearation” and “developement” really happened or not.

  91. John, my assessment of people’s demands in Tibet, and I suspect Jeff’s assessment as well, comes from video footage of the demonstrations in which you can easily listen to and hear the shouted slogans, photographs of the banners carried by protesters, and reports on Tibetan radio (RFA and VOA) from eyewitnesses about the slogans they heard. And that’s not even counting the symbolic acts like ripping up and burning Chinese flags and raising Tibetan flags, which happened across Tibet. Even ICT, which was working hard at first to cover-up the RANGZEN message, has been forced to acknowledge that it’s a widespread demand among the protests in Tibet.

    It would be ridiculous to assert that all people in Tibet want exactly the same thing, and I don’t think any of us are doing that. But what I am asserting is that there is a very vigorous and widespread demand for rangzen coming from within Tibet. And like JN said, Robbie’s gross distortion and denial of that demand is completely inappropriate and patronizing. In my mind, it amounts to complete betrayal of these people.

    If you want to say “I think autonomy is a better goal because…”, I’ll disagree, but I’ll respect your right to say it. But when you say “People in Tibet really don’t want independence, because…” you have stepped across the line from being a supporter to being just like the Chinese.

  92. PALDEN
    Why did you use the name Tsering instead of Palden? I mean I could tell that was you from you signature at the bottom of the post 🙂 You are a KGB

    The problem with our Tibetan scholar or highly educated Tibetans are that THEY DON’T POSSESS OF CRITICAL THINKING. They only believe in propaganda fed up by TGIE. They still believe that Dalai Lama is Buddha/compassion/Bodhisattva/…list go on. They totally neglect the reality about Tibetans in Tibet. They are still simple and narrow minded poeple. But above all, they are lack of courage to face our dark past. Not to mention correcting it.

    A little joke
    I heard from one of my friends that someone’s father went to Cornell University in 70’s I was very shocked to know that. I said you must be kidding, really? Although I doubted that. Later I found out that the guy really went to study in Cornell University; he went to take ESL class though.

  93. The reason you felt betrayed by Westerners was because they finally stood up and pointed out our dark side. They finally tell the truth and the truth sells. People buy only truth, and truth makes money too. You don’t expect Westerners to lie and speak only our propaganda, do you??

    Instead of complaining, we should correct our dirty past and reform our no-good culture. Start from separating Religion from politics.

  94. Tsering, if you can’t be more precise and alwaysing saying “our scholars” in generic terms, I am suspicous of which one? Also, point the so called “our dark past” which is necassry to be proved right as you want to be proved right which is also necessary for the freedom of Tibet from your point of yours?

    Unless, you address specific scholars and their academic writings, the specific “dark past” of Tibet, I will put a period to my response to you.

    Your little joke could be a true one, however, Dr. Lobsang is a Senior Research Fellow in Harward. He also has a degree in PHD in Law from the same university. Therefore, your little joke might be true, but in our case it is an irrelevant case to narrate unless you are trying to prove something. By the way, have a look at Harward University’s requirement for jobs in the unviersity, I am pretty sure they have certain requirements to be hire to work and research in the university.

    I am also having a sense you are having a problem with people who has a faith in His Holiness The Dalai Lama as Boddhisatva of compassion, if so, I am sorry for you. People can have different faith and no one is expecting you to have the same level of faith, or anyone is asking your faith, by the same token it is wrong for you to attack other’s faith.

    In the article “March”, you obviously asked someone, that you are not a buddhist, so what? Well, I think you are pretty confused. THEREFORE, please take your faith to your heart and we are not disappointed.

    Last, but not the least, I never read any of scholars wrote Dalai Lama is the bODDHISATTA OF COMPASSION in any of their scholarly research articles. Maybe I am wrong, but I will not respond you unless you mention the scholar and their specific writings if not the page numbers.

    Thank You for correcting me.



  95. Lama,

    I hope you will not be unduly offended if I address one aspect of your recent contribution, I refer to your comments that:

    “The reason you felt betrayed by Westerners was because they finally stood up and pointed out our dark side. They finally tell the truth and the truth sells. People buy only truth, and truth makes money too. You don’t expect Westerners to lie and speak only our propaganda, do you??”

    Now if we return to the subject of this discussion. The individuals named by Jamyang, including Patrick French, Kate Saunders and Robert Barnett do not trade in truth, when referring to the Tibetan cause and the political activities and objectives of Tibetans inside Tibet.

    In fact they have a long history of ignoring, twisting and concealing the facts, including a shameful censorship of the issue of coercive birth control in Tibet.

    Take for example Kate Saunder’s appearance on the BBC World Service in which she mislead listeners by asserting that Tibetans wanted meaningful autonomy. As she was peddling this fact-free nonsense Tibetans were being gunned-down across Tibet for demanding Tibetan independence. Or Robert Barnett’s sly circumspection (issued via Foreign Policy) that China’s intentions in Tibet were positive and not aimed destroying Tibetan culture.

    Lama, I hope you would agree that such a prostitution of the truth deserves outright condmenation from Tibetans, and those who support the legitmate goal of Tibetan independence.

    Having the intellecual and ethical courage to document and discuss the more odious aspects of Tibet and its history is an admirable goal, particularly if such a movement is initiated by Tibetan scholars. All societies of course have dark elements within their fabric.

    However what the aforementioned so-called Tibet ‘experts’ are engaged in is far more insidious and cynical. The deliberate misrepresentation of the facts and consistent distortion of the political aspirations of the Tibetan people.

    These few ‘commentators’ are in key positions of media influence and their poisoned opinions can be read in newspapers across the globe. This unfortunate situation does not assist the Tibetan cause in anyway, indeed their slanted opinions have far more in common with communist China, and those governments who are assisting the TGIE in its efforts to bury forever any prospect of an independent Tibet.

  96. Lama,

    Regarding your notion that in the West the truth sells.

    This is, I think, incorrect. In the West, what sells is titillation and excitement, not the truth. It helps if the story also gets people to want to buy products and services too.

    As for the so-called Tibetology scholars, peddling their shabby logic of despair and then speaking for Tibetans as if they were appointed to represent Tibetan aspirations: this is a betrayal. No one can speak for Tibetans besides Tibetans.

    As a western supporter of Tibetan aspirations for Rangzen, all i can really do is to explain why i support this. I never speak for Tibetans themselves. To attempt to do so, as such “scholars” and “experts” do, is patronizing and quite evil.

    And I personally know this, being a member of a minority language community that has long been struggling to survive today, with all sorts of experts speaking for and about us while never actually allowing us to speak for ourselves.

  97. What sells in the West, especially among academia, is the concept of “Here’s what the ignorant mainstream is saying, but if you actually analyze things….” Academic journals eat this stuff up as long as the author has the right “credentials”. Being “contrary to mainstream” is just as hip at universities as it is on the street. And it’s just as hypocritical too, when these faux-sophisticated “contrary-to-mainstream” views take over as the new mainstream.

  98. Rich,

    Oh yes. for academia, it is very important to prove oneself above the “herd” and therefore to be smarter, as if having academic credentials says anything about character or intelligence. All academic credentials prove is that someone was awarded a degree for allegedly studying a subject. It says nothing else. And it is high time people realize this.

    They would write about how the notion that the masses now have of the Earth being a round globe is wrong-headed, if they could get away with it.

  99. …or that Tibetans inside Tibet are simply seeking improved economic conitions or some form of meaningful (now there’s a vague term for you)autonomy.

    This gang of snake-oil peddlers should be forcefully and publicly challenged by the very people who they have exploited and are now wilfully misrepresenting.

  100. JEFF BOWE
    I read through first paragraph and i could not continue. Your opinion is very subjective and you are subjugating me and others to follow your ideas. Please keep your opinion as an opinion.

  101. PAlden

    I am sorry to say it again but you are not getting my point. I am not here to finger pointing anyone. I am here to discuss our problems in general. Also, you said you are not working for Tibetan Government, but you know ins and outs of TGIE system and defending it. It is so obvious. The action speaks louder.

  102. Lama, could you please identify which particular remarks by Jeff you feel subjugated by? Accusing him outright without pointing to your reason is unfair.

  103. This debate is an extension of the one extant in the Tibetan community in exile between those who support the Dalai Lama’s Middle Way Approach and those who criticise it. I saw Robbie and Andrew’s writings and comments on TV and my take is that they are largely supportive of the Dalai Lama’s moderate autonomy demands and the importance of dialogue with Beijing. Naturally, this goes against those who disagree with the Dalai Lama. Jamyang-la, being the most articulate and trenchant critic of MWA, is naturally miffed and shot back.

    Lessons then? Tibetans should not think that Robbie and Andrew are against all Tibetan exiles, let alone all Tibetans, or their cause. Andrew and Robbie should not think that all Tibetan exiles are ganging up on them. Those Tibetans who follow the MWA will find your work and comments useful and supportive. ICT has excerpted one of Robbie’s articles in the latest Tibet News Watch, for instance. Specifically, I hope Andrew will not carry out his threat to migrate to Palestine Studies as we don’t want to see you taken hostage there! Just kidding, I personally find your research on Tibet’s contemporary economic problems useful for the Tibetan arguments.It is much more nuanced but useful anyway. I am not sure about your analysis of the Hui-Tibetan relationship because you do not put it into the context of historical Muslim-Buddhist relations in Tibet and the distintion Tibetans make between Tibetan Muslims and Chinese Muslims (Gya Khache). Only this morning I saw an article in LAT, which tries to show the Tibetans as intolerant fanatics targetting innocent and vulnerable Muslims. By the way, the article cites your work.

    In short, Robbie and Andrew’s work and comments will be seen differently by Tibetans depending on where on the MWA-Critics spectrum of they stand.

  104. Lama

    It would appear you have reacted to my comments, as opposed to reading them, please revisit my opening remarks and you may notice that they form a continuation from the previous comments made by Hugh, who was alluding to the so-called Tibet experts. He had very correctly stated that:

    “They would write about how the notion that the masses now have of the Earth being a round globe is wrong-headed, if they could get away with it.”

    In my reply I emloyed the convention of adding a number of full stops to suggest to the reader that these people would seek to equally convince

    “…or that Tibetans inside Tibet are simply seeking improved economic conitions or some form of meaningful (now there’s a vague term for you)autonomy”.

    It is unfortunate if my clumsy grammatical convention to link my views with the previous poster caused some confusion. If on the other hand it is the content itself of my comments you object to then, I must conclude that you do not agree that commentators such as Barnett, French and Saunders are cynically misrepresenting the truth about the nature of the Tibetan cause.

    Is that your position, if so lay out your defense and I will happily address your points.

  105. Dear ‘Mysterious London Tibetan’

    The warped and selective comments made by Robert Barnett, et al, have for years deliberately misrepresented the political nature of the Tibetan struggle for independence.

    Whilst Patrick French has specialised in a message of defeatism and despair for Tibetans, and calling, in his NY Times piece, for the Dalai Lama to abandon Kham and Amdo in any efforts to negotiate with Beijing.

    Meanwhile Kate Saunders makes regular media appearaces always eager to tell the world what Tibetans want, which she did recently with consumate arrogance on the BBC World Service by stating that the Tibetan people wanted meaningful (there’s that term again) autonomy.

    Meanwhile, my ‘Mysterious London Tibetan’, inside Tibet your countrymen and women were being gunned-down in cold blood for demanding nothing less than independence.

    These self-appointed commentators should honour and report the facts, not mislead people with their pseudo-intellectual musing, or tainted pro-China sympathies

    The same people have also consistently ignored, concealed and distorted the facts regarding China’s coercive birth-control policies inside Tibet. The traumatised women of Tibet, whose lives have been forever brutalized by forced sterilisation have very little indeed to thank ‘Robbie’ ‘Andrew’ or ‘Kate’ for.

  106. I agree with Jeff and strongly disagree with “Mysterious London Tibetan”. This is not a matter of which approach you agree or disagree with, or any sort of petty infighting, as the usual cynics would accuse folks of doing. This is a matter of telling the truth about what has happened in Tibet, versus distorting and covering it up to promote one’s own agenda.

    If these barefoot experts want to go around promoting “meaningful” autonomy, that’s fine as long as they tell the truth about what’s happening in Tibet and present negotiated autonomy as a compromise between the actual demands Tibetans are making and the brutal reality of the Chinese. But it’s dishonest and in everyone’s disinterest – both the A crowd and the R crowd – for these irresponsible pseudo-intellectuals to go around saying that Tibetans do not want independence.

  107. “Mysterious London Tibetan”,

    Why can’t you reveal your real name?
    If you feel strong enough to comment in defence of the various “experts”, then may be you should come out in the light to stand by your conviction.

  108. MLT really did a good peace to those arogant injis -most probably jobless and pseudo Tibetans most probabably brought up in alchohols and chees. They are just trying to hijack young and gullible Tibetan and turn Tibet into another palestine.

    Those scholars have seen both the worlds and commenting on the issues on thier own rights.

  109. Tsering Cheodon la

    You should be knowing Tibetan history better than what I have done thorough casual reading. Tibetan areas were losely united or governed before 1951 mainly due to internal disputes. The pan Tibetan ideology as it is no has been born after 1959 one can easily look at the exile setup. I think what has happened in Tibet is good for the struggle but it is still very young and should win much greater support from all sections of the society. Without that united front -what ever autonomy you may get will not last. In the process some scarifice must be there. Right it is still minimised due to MWA. Most of you who stand for independance-if this goes ahead you should be ready to see more casualities or deaths as a result. Can you tolerate than? Are you ready to scarifice yourself first? OR you love your cosy sofa too much.

  110. John,

    These ‘experts’ are not simply commentating on two aspects, they are trading in bias, selection and distortion. That is a very different position indeed to that of academic honest-broker. As a point of principle their actions are a betrayal of the facts, and an arrogant misrepresentation of the political aspirations of Tibetans inside Tibet.

    It is of significance that rather than addressing the issues under examination you resort to ad hominem, against contributors to this discusson, which exposes a clear absence of any reasoned argument on your part.

    The issue is not about the personal preferences or actions of individuals, who engage in constructive and intelligent debate here, but the political activism, resistance and objectives of Tibetans inside Tibet.

    The nature and direction of that struggle for national liberation is the right of the Tbetan people. It remains their freedom to adopt a course of armed resistance, positive non-violent activism, or as envisoned by the TGIE, accepting Chinese domination and becoming yet another ethnic Chinese minority people under communist China’s bloody maw.

  111. Tsering Choedon Lejotsang, you sound like one of those molas who ran amok in McLeod Ganj to attack Danor and Jamnor, flapping their pangdhens at them. I must for now remain anonymous, thank you very much.

  112. John,

    Ad hominem attacks are not only a fallacy, but they are an insult on the one who makes them. They display an inability to use the light of reason to draw in and reflect what even opponents have said.

    Since it is clear you have nothing to contribute but insults that degrade yourself, perhaps you should find something else to do with your extra time.


    I hope you re-read Jeff’s comment responding to me. I do not think he was the only one who understood my comment about the so-called Tibetologists and Tibet experts.

    It bothers me quite a lot to see how they distort things. How they cannot simply accept it when a Tibetan inside Tibet expresses the desire for independence. How they water this down into some sort of “meaningful” autonomy(tm). If it was merely fear of China or something else, they just just come out and fess up to it. But they won’t, being arrogant, and in my opinion, throwbacks to the colonial era when Europeans and their entities control much of the globe politically. Except this time, they are apologists for the Chinese colonial project.

    As for my personal reasons for disliking the barefoot expert scholars and writers, I did spell out how my eyes were opened to this in a different context in my own life.


    You are quite wrong about the idea of “pan Tibetan ideology.” However, even if your assertion carried truth, it is irrelevant to the validity of Tibetan aspirations for independence.

  113. Mysterious London Tibetan

    I don’t understand how my asking you to reveal your name leads you to associate me with those who attacked Danor or Jamnor in McLeod Ganj.

    It is as if you perceive my comment as a personal attack on you! It wasn’t intended that way.

    Tsering Choeden Lejotsang

  114. John’s idea that Tibet is not sufficiently united is outdated, as shown by this year’s uprising. Before that I had close Tibetan friends who had the same concern, that strong efforts to unify the 3 provinces should be made within the framework of present Chinese rule so that in the future, Tibet would be sufficiently unified to grasp independence when the time was ripe. But now it’s abundantly clear that people inside Tibet have already accomplished that phase on their own.

  115. Tsering, I did not defend any one including TGIE. I prefer substantial discussion on specific points. I do not exactly know TGIE in and out, but I have few knowledge how things work over there having been lived in school around Dharamsala. I think it is the duty of every citizen to learn about their government and disagree with them on policies if one feels otherwise. Therefore, if you disagree with them on matter of policy or any issues, I think there are relevant department to complain, else you can write in details about your thoughts. Just beating around the bush in a forum will never help you either.

    Also, if someone know about something does not mean they are all working for that system. There are so many political pundits who knew the US system ins and outs, there are also foreigners who too knew well about US political system, does that mean all these people are working for Bush Administration or any relevant department? Certainly no! Therefore, your judgemental views are so screwed.

    You should at least have the courage to say sorry if your judgemental view is proved wrong, which I did few times.

    I think we did not discuss anything substantial so far, you just cannot shed your certain prejudices and judgement.

    Good Luck In your life


  116. This is gonna be my last time posting message here. I have a message to share with you guys.

    TIBET BELONGS TO TIBETANS IN TIBET. Don’t even think about going back and rule Tibet again. We are fighting with China for the sake of Tibetans in Tibet. So basically, there is no need of TGIE. My parents and my whole relatives are still in Tibet. I will fight for the rights of Tibetans in Tibet without TGIE. Anyway, TGIE cannot even save one person in Jail. As for the Dalai Lama, he is a product of old aristocrats. Tibet does not need him anymore. Athough there are lots of uneducated Tibetans in Tibet worship Dalai Lama, but the new educated generation don’t believe in those superstitious stuff.Anyway,Dalai Lama is only a celebrities like SHARON STOLLAN. He is totally lost in fame.

    If Tibetans in exile want to help Tibetans in Tibet, don’t follow so called TGIE. They will only restore the old medieval religion control politic system. TGIE didn’t do one thing to help Tibetans in Tibet. THey are totally useless. All the progresses for our caused was made by western countries, not from Dharamasala.

    Free Tibet from CHINA and TGIE. Lets build a new Tibet.
    I would suggest people reading following books to understand more about Tibet. Don’t just read propaganda from one side, but from both sides, and compare. You will find both sides are lying, and killing and TIBETAN CIVILIAN ARE DYING. BYE BYE. BODGYALO

  117. PALDEN, you still dont get it. An opinion is just an opinion. “You were saying my opinion is screwed”
    YOUR BRAIN IS FIXED SERIOULSY. that is why I decided not to come to this forum again, because it is waste of time.

    All the information on this message boards are opinions only. As I said, there is no ultimate truth. you will see different version of truth from different angel. So please do not say anybody is wrong. hayaaaaaaaa. When you will understand???

    BYE BYE ALL. I Gave up.

  118. I think it’s great that you’re gone. You were no fun at all. Kind of a pain, really. I never believed you were who you pretended to be.

  119. Tsering,

    I don’t know if you will read this, but I don’t understand why you have to give up.

    Our cause might take anywhere between a few months to hundreds and thousands of years.

    We as Tibetans, especially educated Tibetans, have a responsibility to look at our situation from different perspectoves and we have an ultimate mission to accomplish…. Tibet’s independance. We do not have the luxury to give up so easily!
    Your ideas and opinions also hepled shed light from a different side.
    I appreciate all the people who spend so much time and energy to share their thoughts on this blog. Yours was an interesting angle.

    Tsering Choedon Lejotsang

  120. Tsering, you are totally detached from reality. Although, I agree with you on the point that “Tibet Needs to be freed from China”. Detached in the sense, that TGIE is no longer the same TGIE, Tibetan exile world are so dynamic, older generations are replaced by new generations, nyingjors are replaced by sangjors. Look at the Dharamasala demograph, 75% of people are from Tibet and they are holding businesses. They are fighting for Tibet along with those who came earlier and those who are born in exile. Therefore, you are not aware of real situation, just pouring down some contents from Wangyal’s book. You condemn so called dark past, you even accused Dalai Lama is also a product of the past dark system, however what you are reading and writing from the perspective of the aforementioned book, Phuntsok’s book by Goldstein. Well, Goldstein did a revision of Tibetan history, just buy the Shadow Tibet and read it, maybe ask JN to send you the article. Also Goldstein collaborated with an aristocrat spread a lot of disinformation, ultimately Goldstein married one of the Aroistocrat’s relative(feudal lady….If I reason from you perspective). I think you are not aware of it, so do some research. The best way to read a book and opine on it is, study the author’s background. Otherwise, the author might take to a top of cliff and let you jump down.

    TGIE did not intend to rule Tibet again, but it did represent the sovereigty of Tibet before CHina invaded it. Tibetans in exile can go back if they want to and don’t have to if they don’t choose to. The good thing is, Tibetans are morally conscious and they are fighting for their country, generally TIbetans are united and we need unity. We don’t the kind of information that you are pouring here which is nothing but disinformation propagated by Chinese Government.

    Having arguing and observing your argument, your argument is only fixed on those so called “Dark Past of Tibet”, “Dalai Lama this and that…”, what else logical thing did you say?

    Moreover, you just read the Phunwang’s book now. That itself seems you are far behind even in terms of reading and being keeping updated on Tibet related issues. I read all kinds of books and news, including those posted on Xinhua Website and Chinese government websites. I don’t discriminate in my reading, if I do, I am denying myself of seeing the whole picture. After reading everything I could about Tibet, Buddhism, Culture, language, I still feel that Tibet is an independent country. To fight for it, we need a strategy to get united and fight for it. Not to factionalize like you do. BEfore we unite, we need to fight those Chinese in Tibetan Name and TRYING TO HURT THE CAUSE!

    Anyway, you are not the only who has relatives in Tibet, I have my entire family in Tibet.

    Note: Before you write, go and improve your writing skills, also read more, beyond what you wanted to read. If YOU think there is disinformation from TGIE, write those down, so WE can do a fair debate. Otherwise, we will get no where.

    Also, you don’t have the right to tell Tibetans in exile, “Don’t go back to Tibet”, STUPID!

    Get a life!


  121. Tsering,

    First things first. Nobody should defend TGIE blindly for everything it does and says.

    Second, we were all once the subjects of ‘Bhod shung ganden phodrang’, including you, your family, and anyone from Amdo, Kham to Changthang to Kyidong before China invaded Tibet.

    Third, as ‘Bhod shung…’ is now established in exile in Dharamsala, we all (Tibetans inside and outside) must identify ourselves as its subjects. This belief is essential for tibetans who are involved in our freedom struggle. (BTW I have no idea what he means when somebody says his struggle is ‘for people inside Tibet only’.) If you agree to first and second points, but disagree with the third one, there is a big problem; possible explanation could be one of the two factors: either you consider ‘TAR’ as your govt, or your intelligence is still at elementary level, despite picking up a little skill on writing.

    On a second thought, i find your ideology very troubling – a mixture of shallow nationalism and Chinese propaganda. You clearly identify the goal: to throw China out of Tibet, but then you pitch in propaganda influenced sentiment: I don’t care about TGIE, HHDL and exile Tibetan’s aspiration. I strongly believe, and fear, that people like you will create a bloody civil war in Tibet, even if we were one day able to regain Rangzen through our collective struggle. If CCP has achieved anything in Tibet in last 50 years of occupation, it’s the instillation this sense of ‘division’ in the minds of younger Tibetans inside Tibet. Tsering’s ranting clearly shows he’s a product of this CCP policy.

    One may find somebody’s thoughts ‘interesting’, and there’s legitimacy to it to a certain extend. But if one finds Tsering’s last posting ‘interesting’, and not troubling, I am worried we may be just jumping into the battlefield for Rangzen only to find ourselves killing each other once it is won. May be we should take a little time off, do homework and clear our muddied mindset first.

    Bhod Gyalo!

  122. Sangay, one thing HHDL has worked tirelessly for is to create a Tibetan democracy. In a sense this aspiration began during his previous incarnation and began to see fruits during this present incarnation, if one believes in such things. Both the 13th and 14th DL have faced a great deal of opposition from conservative power bases who oppose democratization. These are the same people who hypocritically condemn, harass, and threaten folks like JN who are willing to criticize HHDL despite the fact that HHDL welcomes and demands the democratic process of criticism of one’s leaders.

    Democracies do not have subjects, they have citizens. The people do not belong to government, but rather government belongs to the people. As such it’s important not to consider oneself as belonging to the TGIE, but rather to consider Tibet and its political institutions as belonging in part to oneself, and to take an active role in claiming this authority. No one will get rangzen or anything else by sitting back and waiting for someone else to win it for you.

  123. Tsering (alias KarmaWang et al),

    If you decide to stop posting comments on JN blog, up to you. But please, don’t use this place for a monologue under different identities. From today, comments outside the theme of the posted blog or essay will not be accepted from your IP (use different names if you like, but stick to the topic).

    It would be a pity to restrict comments on this blog to registered users simply because some individuals misuse it.

    Golok Ambum

  124. Rich, respectfully, maybe you have a better way of explaining relationships between democratic govt and its people. The usage of ‘subject’ was perhaps a poor choice of word on my part, but certainly my intent was not at all to mean we live in a totalitarian system. We live in democratic society and I am aware Freedom of Speech is one of the rights we all enjoy.

    But when someone says ‘Tibet belongs only to Tibetans inside Tibet’; struggle to free Tibet is only to ‘free Tibetans inside Tibet’, and vilifies the standings of HHDL and TGIE, I find it troublesome. Equally troubling is when someone pops up and supports such non-sensical expression in the name of democracy. Right to free speech may ‘protect’ such incendiary comments from theoretical stand point, but if one’s nonchalant to the harm such assertions do on the unity of society, is disastrous. Attack with rebuttal the people who formulate policies, not the institution. Read Tsering’s comment # 122, you will know what I am talking about.

    Tibetans, no matter where he lives, Tibet belongs to all of them. Our fight to Free Tibet is as much to free Tibetans inside Tibet as it is to free Tibetans from being refugees. In this struggle for freedom, it’s important we truly believe we are all in this together. And as Tibetans, like the arrow in a compass always points north, we loyalty must point to TGIE. As long as one believes in this premise, any debate over policies/directives of TGIE is a fair game and welcome.

    I did not say that he should sit back and expect somebody will bring Rangzen for us. I don’t believe in such non-sense. But if we are laden with personal agendas behind our struggle to free Tibet, I have problem with it. I not only see this kind of division in motive will debilitate our collective effort, but potential to pose long-term problem when freedom is achieved.

    I have read several of JN’s articles where he has voiced opposition to TGIE’s policies, including HHDL’s. I find them legitimate, and actually find them echoing my own personal belief. I don’t think he vilifies the standing of HHDL and TGIE. Actually in one of his earlier articles he stated that he regarded TGIE as his legitimate govt., and wanted to see HHDL seated on the throne of Potala palace. It is unfortunate that some of us attack JN randomly without understanding his message. I don’t support them.

  125. Sangay, thanks for the clarification. In many ways I accept and agree with what you say, but I also believe that if someone from Tibet feels like the TGIE and exile society have usurped the authority over Tibet’s future, they’re entitled to claim it’s illegitimate. In a society capable of civil discussion, the result of this is not hatred and ‘civil war’ but a realization that government institutions need to adjust and get in touch with the people’s will or else run the risk of becoming irrelevant.

    Unlike a government of a sovereign nation, the TGIE’s legitimacy does not come from having a military and internationally-recognized borders. Its legitimacy comes only from being accepted by the people. This is a reality they’ll need to face in what may be an extremely long struggle. After several generations, blind allegiance is not sustainable and the government must then earn its legitimacy through its actions.

  126. Sangay, I am just here because of people like you. What do you do now? Where have you got your education? Did’nt you at any time depended on TGIE and its works? Under who’s blessing we are surviving now? TGIE is a democratic institutions as far its legitimacy goes. There are every possible ways open to voice your concern. This was my contention from the beginning to this end. It is not apt for any genuine Tibetan to distract and denegrade your government and leadership. TGIE’s policy are based on DDDL’s vision and mission which is inturn based on our culture and values. You and JN-rich, hugh, tsering are just doing that nothing else. TGIE is made up of people like you. Instead of contributing to its efforts-you are becoming shame for the Tibetans. This what China wants!

  127. Actually John in terms of basic objectives, as they relate to isues for negotiation between the TGIE and Chinese communist oficials, what “China wants” is for the Dalai Lama/TGIE to go beyond mere public renouncement of Tibetan independence, historic or otherwise.

    It desires little short of a humiliating admission from the Tibetan leader that Tibet, its people, religious heritage, and the office of the Dalai Lama himself are, have been, and will forever remain immutably Chinese.

    Moreover, it demands agreement from the Dalai Lama/TGIE of the partition of historic and cultural Tibet, by the formal recognition and acceptance of the Dalai Lama, that Kham and Amdo are Chinese provinces, in the strict sense of not being so-called ‘autonomous regions’.

    China also wants the the Tibetan leader to acknowledge, and committ himself to the concept of ‘One China’.

    Furthermore will not be satisfied until the Dalai Lama/TGIE abandon expressions for improved political freedoms, and agree that genuine autonomy already exists for Tibetans, albeit in the truncated region of the so-called TAR.

    There are of course many other imperialist requirements demanded of Tibetans that would advantage China.

    However, the question though John is not really about China’s wishes, but the aspirations and political resistance of Tibetans in their struggle for national liberation. It may be sour medicine to taste, but the bitter truth is that the TGIE, far from supporting their people in this effort, are perfoming appeasing somersaults to accomodate Beijing’s demands.

    Perhaps Tibetans will be next asked by the TGIE to give up the Snow Lion flag and salute instead the bloody flag of communist China. After all the TGIE already describes its own people as ethnic Chinese. What next eh John?

  128. In addition to Jeff’s excellent explanation above, China also demands His Holiness/TGIE (and by extension all of us Tibetans), admit that Taiwan is also an inalienable part of China.

    I guess we all know these demands, but sometimes we do seem to forget. China will not negotiate until these are admitted. So who the hell can admit to any one of these ridiculous demands without losing every atom of your dignity. Not only are we expected to sell our own people, our rich history, but also we have sell someone else out too.

    There is no chance for any genuine negotiations.
    So, as far as I can see, our job is to uphold our faith in freedom/Rangzen, and to know who we truely are, know our own history well, not get confused with what others tell us we are. Do this without wavering, and when the day comes, years maybe even generations from now, we will still be here to claim whats ours.

    It feels kind of appropriate to quote Bob Marley now.. it might sound corny though.. oh, what the hell!: “If you know your history, then you will know where I’m comin from, and you wouldn’t have ask me, “Who da hell do you think I am!””

  129. Much revelling indeed in the fine piece of the fact and nature. Some being supporting negotiation because none other option presentable. My, should it be nice if we have one scholar who will tell the simple truth being in plain fashion? I, Sharma Patel, man of small learning and less wisdom aspiring to present to you my “5 Point Facts – Points to Bring the Humor to the Pain”

    1) Problematic with negotiation is assumption of Chinese humanity. If only Tibetans realizing are dealing with demons, can stop trying talking and start doing more exorcisms — maybe better result coming!

    2) Problem is Gelug control of government. Gelug are not very expert in black magic including masterful demon poisons. We don’t need one like Milarepa in the cave, but need one like Milarepa before met Marpa to address CCP members!

    3) Problem is not Buddhism religion, but problem is people have no accomplishment. Buddhism not preventing violence, but prevent violence from those with no realization. This is situation. So problem is not that people are Buddhist, but problem is there is nobody with the good wisdom like Lhallung Pallgyi Doorje. Then, problem is there are not enough arrows in this world!

    4) Big problem Han Proudful Mind. Thinking so great people. If think so great people, so clever people, maybe Han himself find a way to stop his government from rape, torture, forced abortion, murder in the streets, etc. Or maybe Chinese manwoman keep selling noodle in Lhasa for profit and rub fat China Buddha belly. (p.s. go home, it’s not your country China manwoman).

    5) Regarding the upcoming population transfer to Tibet, some saying some million china people coming. Like this China destrying Tibet from inside. Should enforce 1/2 child policy. Each China person can keep 1/2 of their child. Other half belongs to Rangzen war!

    #####if JN is fly beating wings on rock, then Sharma Patel is only mosquito stirring the winds in tiny tiny small part of freedom lands. None above being endorsement to violence or hatred but being big humor intention to dispel misery of suffering pain created by evil regime of China Communism. Dont worry Tibetan brothers I am fast achieving 8th bhumi and studying atomic science! (hardy laughing time) Don’t worry TGIE I still did not lose compassion for Chinese. But if I see Mao, I would kill him with compassion and offer his head to the Protective Deities. Call me a Bonpo? Hardy laughing to end.

  130. to clarify comment about 1/2 child policy is joke to convert the chinese kids to rangzen belief, is not joke about killing kids which is so disgusting and which is action of communist chinese and not of the tibetan patriots.

  131. Dear Golok Ambum la

    Concerning the posting by Sharma Patel please the folllowing response:

    Sharma thanks for that amusing distraction, your ‘English’ remined me of Peter Seller’s character ‘Inspector Clousseau’. Having been born and schooled in India I have never heard any Indian use English in such a way. Are you sure you are not putting this on for some strange reason? If so then please understand that this is a mature debate on very serious issues, if you cannot contribute sensible and informed comments that are of critical importance to all Tibetans, then please respect the discussions here find another home for your humour.

  132. I think we have to get some things straight. Its no use giving our made up version of history like the chinese do. We the Tibetans will and must stick together to forge a common future no doubt. The problem arises when we say Tibet with its provinces of Utsang, Kham and Amdo were always indepenedent untill the Chinese came. It was much more complicated than that. Jamyang Norbu has it right when he speaks of the pan Tibetan Nationalism after the Invasion and still getting stronger. The ethnic Tibet is a huge swathe of Territory with a sparse population leaving people in different areas to carve out out their own identities if you will. Thats what happens when u are autonmous, independent .. choose what word you will- for centuries. That has fortunately changed for the better.

  133. i am very happy to know that Jamyang Norbu is a good writer. but i hope you will not write any baseless nagetive things about our leader to injure tibetan’s heart.

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