Archive for ‘Dalai Lama’

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Norway: “appeasing China seems to take precedence”

Norway’s prime minister and foreign minister are not going to meet the Dalai Lama when he visits next month, as part of an effort to ease tensions with the world’s second-largest economy, Bloomberg reported on April 23. Views and News from Norway wrote on April 9 that Parliamentary President and a long-time supporter of Tibet, Olemic Thommessen, said he would not be meeting with the exiled spiritual leader because it was more important to repair relations with China. Relations between Oslo and Beijing had been frigid ever since Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, reports the Norwegian English-language website. It was Norway’s – now ruling – Conservative Party, including now prime minister Erna Solberg, who spoke up for human rights issues and Tibet in 2008. The Dalai Lama himself is a Nobel  laureate and visits on the 25th anniversary of being awarded the peace prize.

According to the Views and News report,

Olav Gunnar Ballo, another former leader of the Tibet committee, said it’s a shame Norway’s leading politicians haven’t come out in support of the Dalai Lama, and it’s cowardly that appeasing China now seems to take precedence over human rights issues that were so actively brandished in the past.

According to the Voice of Tibet, a Norway-based broadcaster and website operator, demonstrators protested, on Wednesday, against high-ranking politicians’ decisions not to meet with the Dalai Lama. Among the demonstrators – about 400 according to News and Views -, were Liberal Party leader Trine Skei Grande, MP Rasmus Hansson of the Green Paerty, and rock musician Lars Lillo-Stenberg. Norway should not cave in to force and threats, one of the organizers reportedly told Norway’s public broadcaster NRK. According to Views and News, Liberal Party leader Grande said that

the Dalai Lama would not be received “in the basement” [...] but would be brought to parliament to meet “as many politicians as we can manage to scrape together. We will show that people are concerned about the cowardice shown.”

These are strong words of criticism – and as they come from Norwegians, these words are laudable. But before Europeans elsewhere join the condemnations easily, they should pause and think what they or their countries were doing while Norwegian business was kept in the cold by Beijing. In fact, Oslo resisted the pressures for a remarkably long time.

But it is also true that the Nobel Peace Prize committee in Oslo – independent from government in formal terms, but not when it comes to membership and influence – has made a joke of itself in recent years. Awarding Liu Xiaobo was a brave choice, but the award that had preceded it a year earlier – to Barack Obama -, and the one that followed in 2012,  to the European Union, were silly (to put it mildly).

Are the current (small-scale, but still bigger than elsewhere) protests only the last echoes from Norway’s better days? Or are they an indication that civil society is picking up important issues where the elites are failing? The Dalai Lama himself has turned more to people-to-people diplomacy in recent years, at least formally.

That’s where the future is.

____________

Related

» press conference, FMPRC (English), April 28, 2014
» press conference, FMPR (Chinese), April 28, 2014
» Dalai Lama in Oslo, schedule May 7-9
» Out of the Flames, Woeser/High Peaks, April 15, 2014

____________

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Tibetan New Year, and The Role of the Exiles

I’ve known many of you for a long time and now we’re all showing signs of age. I was 24 years old when our exile began and I’m nearly 79 now. Meanwhile the spirit of our people in Tibet is still strong; they have a strength that has been passed down generation to generation. Wherever we are, we shouldn’t forget that we are Tibetans. Those of us in exile number about 150,000, but what is most important is that the spirit of those in Tibet remains alive, they are the bosses. And it’s because of the hope they have placed in us that we have to keep our cause alive.

The Dalai Lama, addressing Tibetans in Los Angeles on Thursday. He is scheduled to celebrate Tibetan New Year on March 2, with the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota.

____________

Related

» Zhu Weiqun: keep calm, Feb 23, 2013

____________

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Zhu Weiqun: Keep calm in Tibet and Xinjiang and carry on

Main link:   » Why the West keeps meddling with Tibet and Xinjiang and finding fault with China / 西方为何在涉藏涉疆问题上与中国过不去

The article was officially first published by “China Tibet Online” (中国西藏网), and republished by Xinhua online, by People’s Daily‘s CCP webpages, by Guangming Daily online (China’s offical dangwai publication), and by Phoenix (Fenghuang, Hong Kong).

The author is Zhu Weiqun (朱维群), chairman of the ethnic and religious affairs committee of the CPPC. His article suggests that the “splittist” concepts of Tibetan independence and East Turkestan islamic state hadn’t emerged on Chinese soil, but had entered China from abroad, in the wake of imperialism’s aggressions against China. Chinese-speaking readers are provided with details about British policies on Tibet from 1888 to 1914, i. e. aggressions during which false ideas of suzerainty and a Tibetan right to independence were entered into the heads of a minority upper class. In competition with Tsarist Russia, Britain had also tried to get the territories south of the Tianshan Mountains into its sphere of control, writes Zhu.

After World War 2, it had been America which encouraged Tibetan independence and supplied Tibetan forces with arms, and to this day, America was the main financer of the “Dalai clique”, constantly creating cracks and driving wedges on Chinese territory. In Xinjiang, too, it had been upper-class minorities who had been influenced in a “counter-CCP” way (not “counter-revolutionary”, interestingly), including a war by Ospan Batyr against the “People’s Liberation Army”.  After the 9-11 attacks (2001), America had entered Central Asia under the name of counter-terrorism, and American support for “splittist forces” in Xinjiang had moved from behind the curtain to the fore. A John-Hopkins University project started in 2003 – apparently described by project members themselves here – denied that Xinjiang had “since ancient times been an inseparable part of China”, “violently attacked the benefits that China’s government had brought to all nationalities in Xinjiang”, and even though America understood the links between East Turkestan and al-Kaida, Taliban and the threats they constituted for America, America also still saw forces in them that could be used to put pressure on China.

After a description of the World Uyghur Congress and Rebiya Kadeer as Western (and Japanese) tools, Zhu draws a – preliminary – conclusion: China doesn’t harm the West, but the West shamelessly harms China.

The strange thing is, the perpetrators can make eloquent assertions without any feelings of shame. This  can only be explained with some peoples’ view that this kind of perpetration is some kind of political tradition in some countries, a divine right earned from their Christian faith, without a need to care about the interests or feelings of the aggrieved party. The only difference between history and reality is that in history, the West applied armed force right away. These days, [the West] rather relies on its discourse hegemony, dressing its selfish interests up as “universal values”.

奇怪的是,加害者可以如此振振有词,如此毫无羞耻感。这只能解释为,在一些人看来,这种加害是某些国家一种政治传统,是由于基督教信仰而获得的神授特权,根本没有必要顾及受害方的利益和感受。历史与现实的不同之处仅仅在于,西方在历史上更多是直截了当使用武力,而现在则首先依靠其在国际上的话语霸权,将他们的私利装扮成“普世价值”。

[The last sentence is emphasized by Zhu or by the editor.]

In a short account of the U.S.-Chinese recent history of relations, Zhu then writes that during the 1970s, America significantly reduced its support for the “Dalai clique”, so as to win China over against the USSR. The “Dalai clique” had basically turned into pariahs. The “Dalai” was well aware that America wasn’t there to help Tibet, but for the tactical necessities of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, Zhu says, allegedly claiming the Dalai Lama himself.

Likewise, Zhu argues, the March-5 riots in Lhasa in March 1989, and then the “June-4 incident” were a time when the U.S. felt strongly that the “Dalai” was of great value in containing socialist China.

So, in October 1989, as a measure to punish China, the laurel of the Nobel Peace Prize fell on the Dalai’s head, and in 1991, U.S. president Bush senior met with the Dalai, setting the bad precedent of Western heads of state meeting the Dalai. Strongly encouraged, the “Dalai” suggested at the time that Tibet should become an independent state within three years, and made remarks about a collapsing China, according to Zhu.

The article then moves into the present tense, i. e. into the new century: the Beijing Olympics 2008, the 3-14 Lhasa riots, and violent interceptions of the Olympic torch relays.

At the same time, Western leaders collectively threatened to boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, humiliated China, put pressure on the Chinese government to make concessions to the Dalai clique. Only because the situation in Tibet quickly returned to normal, and because Chinese people and overseas Chinese people all over the world raised their voices in support of the Chinese government, strongly opposing the Dalai’s and CNN’s and other Western media incidents to humiliate China, the West no longer dared to move things around.

与此同时,西方领导人以集体抵制北京奥运会开幕式威胁、羞辱中国,压中国政府对达赖集团作出政治上的让步。只是由于西藏局面迅速恢复正常,全中国人民和全球华侨华人群起发声支持中国政府,强烈反对达赖集团和CNN等西方媒体辱华事件,西方才没敢把事情做绝。

It’s a long list of Chinese humiliations, Western aggression, Western pragmatism, Western fears (of China changing the global rules) etc., and, of course, of Chinese victories, with the corresponding ups and downs for the “Dalai clique”. Zhu’s article continues with – no specific – accusation that Western countries had seen contradictions within their societies which they suppressed, not least because of economic crisis, and contrasts this with the way the 3-14 Tibet riots (2008) or 7-5 Urumqi incident (2009) were portrayed by Western media (unfavorably for the Chinese government). Tibetan self-immolations, too, get a mention by Zhu.

The Western refusal to address Tibetan pre-CCP history as a history of exploitation and serfdom (27 manors and more than 6000 farmer-slaves owned by the “Dalais”), and a constant “brainwash” of the Western public (Zhu himself puts the brainwash into quotation marks), made it impossible for common Westerners to “correctly understand the justified nature and the necessity of the Chinese government’s struggle against the Dalai clique” (当然也就不能正确了解中国政府对达赖集团斗争的正义性和必要性).

Sooner or later, however, America would understand that double standards like these impaired their own national interests, such as links between their Xinjiang allies and al-Kaida, or extremist elements within the “Arab Spring”.

Zhu also tries to explain European inabilities to “understand China” with European history and the trend to nation-states there during the past one or two centuries. Too much national self-determination, however, would bring instability to Europe, too, he writes, citing Bosnia and the partitions of India (but not that of Czechoslovakia or, possibly, the United Kingdom and Scotland, apparently). In China, this way of ruling was simply not feasible. In short, Zhu describes economic, political, cultural and blood relationships as too intricate to apply self-determination in China. It is here where his article may become clearly more complex than this traanslation – or that’s how I see it -, but he definitely wouldn’t admit that the CCP has kept creating the situation where “self-determination can’t work”.

In many ways, the article is a comprehensive rehash of the propaganda that dominated the Chinese press and “public opinion” in 2008 and after. Nazi Germany, too, is invoked as a co-author of an unrealistic Western picture of Tibet:

Even Nazi Germany tried to find the secret power here [in Tibet] to rule the world, and a Nazi element named Heinrich Harrer was commissioned to go to Tibet and to establish relations with the upper class there. From 1946, this man was the 14th Dalai’s political adviser and English teacher, and he only fled Tibet in 1951. In his book “Seven Years in Tibet” and in related interviews, he describes feudalistic and farmer-slave-system Tibet as “the last piece of pure earth on the globe” – “you can find there, on the roof of the world, what we have lost in the West.” The 1997 Hollywood adaptation of the book not only concealed the author’s Nazi identity, but also, by fabrications, suggested that Tibet wasn’t a historic part of China, distorting peaceful liberation into a “Chinese invasion of Tibet”, thus deliberately misleading the Western public.

甚至纳粹德国也试图从这里找到可以统 治世界的“神秘力量”,一个叫海因里希·哈勒的纳粹分子受命前往西藏与上层建立联系,此人从1946年起给十四世达赖充当政治顾问和英文教师,直到 1951年才逃离西藏。在其《西藏七年》一书和相关采访中,把封建农奴制统治下的西藏描述为“地球上的最后一片净土”、“我们西方人在现实生活中遗失的东 西在这个世界屋脊的城市里都可以找到”。1997年好莱坞把这本书改编为电影,不仅掩盖了作者的纳粹身份,而且捏造情节否认西藏历史上就是中国一部分,把 和平解放歪曲为“中国入侵西藏”,蓄意误导西方公众。

In short: ugly things were made looking beautiful, and things got farcial enough to make a Spanish judge indict Chinese leaders to curry favor with the public (乃至发生西班牙法官借起诉中国领导人讨好“民意”的丑剧), writes Zhu. But with China’s growing global role, those Western countries couldn’t carry on like that, unless they wanted to harm themselves.

While it was important to inform the Western public about Tibet and Xinjiang, the Western elites wouldn’t settle with anything less than a Chinese acknowledgement that the two territories did not belong to China, writes Zhu. Therefore, illusions needed to be abandoned, and Chinese control be safeguarded:

Only when the West sees the inevitability of a strong China, and that separating Tibet and Xinjiang from China is just a “beautiful dream”, that it is in the Western interest to develop and safeguard relations with China rather than the contrary, it may lead the West to change its thinking.

只有使西方认识到中国的强大是不可避免的,使西藏、新疆脱离中国只是一场“美丽的”梦,而西方的利益在于发展、保护同中国关系而不是相反,才可能促使西方转换一下思路。

____________

Related

» China angry, U.S. shouldn’t worry, Washington Post blogs, Feb 21, 2014

____________

Friday, December 20, 2013

Chinese Press and Blog Review: funerals and self-immolations

-

1. Reforming Cadres’ and Party Members’ Funerals

One of the most-read domestic news in China’s online media on Friday appears to be a state-council opinion on reform of cadres‘ and party members‘ funerals. Cremation should be the regular way, thriftily and in an ecological way, the opinion is quoted. The opinion encourages organ donations, regulated land use (and no waste of land) for graveyards, no “superstitious” or “feudal” rites (no fengshui either), etc.. However, party members who belong to national minorities should be buried with respect to customs and in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations, according to reports.

-

2. Self-Immolation in Gansu Province

A Tibetan monk reportedly killed himself by self-immolation in Amchok town, Sangchu County, within the “autonomous” Tibetan prefecture of Gannan, in Gansu Province, on Thursday. His name is said to be Tsuiltrim Gyatso, a man in his early fourties. According to Phayul, he is the 125th Tibetan since 2009 to set himself on fire to protest the Chinese government.

Tsering Woeser quotes from what is said to be Tsuiltrim Gyatso’s suicide note:

Dear brothers, did you hear? Did you see? To whom can the distress of six million Tibetans be told? Black Han Chinese brutal prison, taking our golden and silver treasures, leaving the ordinary people in poverty, thinking of it, it brings still more tears to my eyes.
亲爱的兄弟,你听到了吗?你看见了吗?六百万藏人的苦难向谁诉说?黑汉人暴虐的监狱,夺走了我们黄金白银般的宝库,使百姓们处于苦难中,想起这,不禁流泪不止。

I will burn my precious body, for the venerable Dalai Lama to return to the native land, for the Panchen Lama to be released, for the happiness and benefit of six million Tibetans, I will offer my body to the fire.
将我宝贵的身体燃烧,为了尊者达赖喇嘛返回故土,为了班禅喇嘛获得释放,为了六百万藏人的福祉,我将身体献供于烈火。以此祈愿消除三界众生的苦难,走上菩提之路。

Three treasures, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha: please bless and protect those who are helpless, compatriots from the snowland, be united [unreadable] Snowland fighter Tsuiltrim Gyatso.
佛、法、僧三宝啊,请护佑无助的人们,雪域同胞们,要团结xxxxx (此处字迹不清 )……
———雪域斗士次成嘉措

According to Tsering Woeser’s blog, Tsuiltrim Gyatso’s remains was taken to his monastery by fellow monks, and more than 400 monks held prayers for him, but the current situation wasn’t known, writes Woeser.

____________

Related

» Inevitable Humiliations, Sept 17, 2011

____________

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Obituary: Robert Ford, 1923 – 2013

Robert Ford, a British diplomat and radio operator, worked for the Tibetan government during the the late 1940s, and was arrested by the Chinese during the invasion of Tibet in 1950. Charged with espionage and murder, he remained imprisoned until May 1955. He then left China via Hong Kong.

The BBC describes his years of imprisonment and “re-education” in some detail. He began work in Britain’s diplomatic service after his return to Britain and was stationed in a number of countries.

His mission in Tibet had apparently been to build Tibet’s first-ever broadcasting station, and a wireless information system across Tibet. While establishing a radio connection between Chamdo and Lhasa, he also went on air as an amateur radio operator at times, with the callsign AC4RF.

Robert Ford died on September 20, aged 90.

The Dalai Lama, whom Ford had first met in the 1940s, and most recently in April this year, offered his prayers and condolences to Ford’s family members.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

What the Dalai Lama’s (potential) Travels may have to do with Soviet History, Oil Prices, and the South China Sea

The Dalai Lama hopes that the new, coming leadership would be more lenient, according to Reuters. Reuters writes that

[i]n the early 1950s, the Dalai Lama knew Xi Jinping’s father, Xi Zhongxun, one of the most liberal leaders of the Chinese revolution, who was known to have had a less hardline approach to Tibet.

Xi Zhongxun (习仲勋) is said to have opposed the 1989 Tian An Men crackdown, about a year after his retirement in 1988. The article suggesting this stance by Xi Zhongxun also suggests that Xi Jinping himself is the only leader who served in the military. If true, this could mean that he has a more realistic view of the limited use of violent crackdowns. However, according to a Singapure National University document, Xi Jinping’s military role was rather political:

Unlike other frontrunners of the fifth generation leadership, Xi has had some
military service before. Upon his graduation from Qinghua University in 1979, he worked for Geng Biao (耿飚), the then secretary general of the Central Military Commission (CMC), for about three years.

Meantime, Huanqiu Shibao is quoted as having reported on an eleven-day visit by the Dalai Lama to Japan, scheduled for November this year. The article can currently not be found on Huanqiu (only the search results seem to be available at Google). Beifang Net apparently republished the short news article. It closes with quoting the foreign ministry’s standard condemnation:

Concerning the Dalai issue, the FMPRC has expressed many times that Tibetan affairs are China’s internal affairs. The Dalai has for a long time been a political exile under a banner of religion, engaging in anti-China splittist activities. China resolutely opposes any country and any person making use of Tibetan issues to interfere in Chinese internal affairs.

中国外交部就达赖问题多次表态称,西藏事务纯属中国内政。达赖是长期打着宗教旗号从事反华分裂活动的政治流亡者。中方坚决反对坚决反对任何国家、任何人利用涉藏问题干涉中国内政。

Russian president Vladimir Putin told Buddhist citizens on July 31 that the Russian government worked in the direction of inviting the Dalai Lama to Russia. Feng Chuangzhi, a regular congtributor to china.com, a website operated by the state council, wrote in an editorial on August 8 that given many years of friendly cooperation between Putin and Beijing, Chinese reactions to Putin’s comment eight days earlier had been low-key, just its reaction to the Russian shelling of a Chinese fishing boat had not been radical (过激). After a short re-cap of the usual allegations against the Dalai Lama, Feng writes that

under such circumstances, the likelihood of a Dalai visit to Russia as expressed by the Russian president does, of course, hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, and can lead to contradictions emerging between the two sides [China and Russia].

在这种情势下,俄总统发出的为达赖访俄罗斯创造可能性理所当然伤害了中国人的感情,双方的矛盾可能会因此而出现。

However, the ways in which Putin and Western countries invite the Dalai are different. Putin spoke about the possibility, but didn’t make it definite. People know that a so-called possibility is no official decision. It should also be said that he made these remarks in a discussion, saying that “we obviously understand the hopes of our people living here in [the Republic of] Kalmykia that the Dalai Lama comes to them”.

但是,同样说邀请达赖,普京与西方等国邀请达赖的口角就有所不同。普京只是说到创造达赖访俄罗斯的可能,并未把话说死。人们知道,所谓可能性,只是一种预 测,不是正式决定。还应一提的是,所说的邀请达赖来的是在同论坛与会者们交谈时的表示,“我们当然理解我们那些生活在卡尔梅克并期待达赖·喇嘛到来的 人”。

The following lines explain the history of the “so-called Kalmyks” (所谓卡尔梅克人). Feng then returns to the present tense:

Putin promised the Kalmyks to invite the Dalai Lama to alleviate their historical wounds.  One can imagine that for some time, the Kalmyks raised the invitation of the Dalai, and as a Russian politician, [Putin] can’t ignore their wishes, but he also can’t be unaware of the Chinese government’s attitude towards the Dalai, and therefore can’t simply do things that would lead to tensions in Sino-Russian relations. Agence France-Presse said on August 1 that Putin had always acknowledged China’s position concerning the Tibetan issue, and believed that the Dalai was “a politicial personality engaging in secession”, and that the Dalai’s announcement of abandoning the political role had perhaps changed Russia’s traditional approach. “The Australian” said that perhaps, Putin’s remarks on July 31 marked “a turning point in attitude”. There are Western media that say that if Putin, only for a single day, allows the Dalai Lama to visit Kalmykia, it would put Sino-Russian relations to a direct test. Therefore, Putin’s invitation to the Dalai Lama is rather to curry favor with the Kalmyks, and also rather makeshift.

普京面向卡尔梅克人承诺邀达赖访问一事其为平抚卡尔梅克人历史创伤之意。可以想到,一段时间以来,卡尔梅克人早就发出了邀请达赖来访的声音,身为俄罗斯政 治家,不能不顾及卡尔梅克人的意愿,但普京也不可能不知道中国政府对达赖的态度,决不会冒然做令中俄关系紧张的事情。法新社1日说,普京一直认同中国西藏 问题立场,认为达赖是“从事国家分裂的政治人物”,去年达赖宣布放弃政治角色,或能让俄改变传统做法。《澳大利亚人报》称,普京7月31日的发言或是“态 度转变的契机”。有外媒称,普京一旦允许达赖访问卡尔梅克,将“对俄中关系构成直接考验。因此,普京发出邀请达赖访俄更多是讨好卡尔梅克人之意。也就是权 宜之计。

It wasn’t clear if Putin also “played the Dalai card” to put pressure on China in negotiations about the price for Russian oil, where there was disagreement between the two sides, writes Feng, and also gives Russia’s alliance with Vietnam a mention. Feng doesn’t describe Russia as a foe, but uses quotes instead to whip up  readers’ paranoia. Referring to Cam Ranh Bay, among other recent issues in the news, Feng quotes analysts:

Russia’s president Putin wants to tie China down and weaken it by inviting the Dalai. It wants to slow Chinese action against Vietnam down, thus giving Russia the opportunity to arm and support Vietnam, and to build military bases in Vietnam.

俄罗斯总统普京想通过达赖来牵制削弱中国,企图通过捏中国的痛处,迫使中国放慢对越南动手的脚步,使俄罗斯能够有机会武装、援助越南,并且有时间在越南建立军事基地。

China and Russia are friendly neighbors, and to promote Sino-Russian friendship is the mainstream volition of the people on both sides. The most important thing in their relations is to respect territorial sovereignty and integrity, and each others core interests. If core interests are involved, contradictions will arise. This author [Feng] believes that both countries’ politicians, facing a complicated international situation, will handle sensitive issues, including those of  the “Dalai Lama card” type, appropriately. Floating clouds won’t blind them, and they will maintain and promote the general situation of Sino-Russian friendship.

中俄是友好邻邦,促进中俄友好是两国的主流民意。两国关系最重要是尊重领土主权完整,尊重双方的核心利益。一旦涉及核心利益,矛盾就会萌生。笔者相信,面对复杂的国际形势,中俄两国政治家会妥善处理包括打“达赖牌”之类的敏感问题,不被浮云遮望眼,保持和推进中俄友好大局。

I’ve sometimes wondered what it may feel like, for the Dalai Lama’s emissaries, to “negotiate” with Chinese cadres. Articles like Feng’s seem to give me a vague idea.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Links to Tibet: German Sycophants, few Secular Books, no Indian Friends

-

Huanqiu Shibao on Tibet Action Day

On March 10, some 1,150 (if not more than 1,200) cities, counties, and communes  in Germany took part in a Tibet Action Day which includes flying a flag from administrative buildings, usually the town hall. Huanqiu Shibao‘s count was that more than one-thousand German cities and towns had raised the Tibetan independence flag, remembering the so-called Tibet revolt (纪念所谓西藏起义):

According to “Berliner Morgenpost” on March 12, more than 1,000 German cities and towns flew the Tibetan “freedom” and “justice” flags in front of their city government houses to remember the so-called Tibetan revolt’s 53rd anniversary.

However, Huanqiu Shibao’s correspondent in Germany did some research on official German websites and found that many of these activities were mostly carried out at small communes and towns, and that in other cases, only single departments had participated. All the same, Huanqiu (apparently) quotes an expert – Lian Xiangmin (廉湘民) of the China Tibetology Research Center (中国藏学中心) -, history has proved that Germany holding such supportive actions of the Dalai Clique created harm for Chinese-German relations.

The report was filed under Huanqiu’s military category.

Tibetan Flag, Berlin, March 10, 2012

How afraid should Germany be?

Either way, there is constructive advice in the commenter thread (where the soothing effect of Huanqiu’s investigative journalism appears to remain rather limited):

if Germans love that dreg of society (the Dalai Lama) so much, they should cut some German territory and hand it over to the Dalai. Or, chancellor Angela Merkel should hand political authority to the Dalai, given that her subjects (子民) had sworn allegiance to him anyway, because they had capitulated, by hoisting the Dalai’s independence flag on German soil, and by kneeling under his feet as his sycophants.

-

The Epic of King Gesar – Cultured without Buddhism

Tibetan history has often swung between centralized and stateless poles, and the epic of Gesar reflects the tensions between central authority, as embodied in religious orthodoxy, and the wild, nomadic forces of the autarkic periphery. There are versions that adopt Gesar as a lama showing him as a tamer of the wild, but, in so far as his epic retains his old lineaments as a maverick master of shamanic powers, he represents the stateless, anarchic dimension of Tibet’s margins, and is rather a tamer of corrupt monastic clerics and, thus, it is not coincidental that the epic flourished on the outlying regions of Kham and Amdo.

According to Mountain Phoenix, the story of Ling Gesar Gyalpo is one of rather few not-so-religious Tibetan books,  or a story of indigenously Tibetan, heathen origins – one that her father had kept reading through all his lifetime.

Few years ago at a Tibetan gathering, I heard the Dalai Lama talk about the importance of the Tibetan language and he gave tips to youngsters on how to work on their Tibetan. He said: “If you want to improve your Tibetan, you should read Peja (Buddhist scriptures)”.

We can all imagine the youngsters jumping for joy on the inside exclaiming: “Yeah, Peja! Finally! So exciting”!

Her father never touched a Peja in all his life, but

Still I conclude from comments his surviving peers make that his Tibetan didn’t pale in comparison to some of the erudite clerics who used to live in our vicinity. Astonishing for a Tibetan of his generation, that he somehow managed to become “cultured” without cosing up to Buddhism.

-

Indian-Tibetan Relations

Woeser quotes Tibetan voices from India – nothing representative, she cautions, and collected through social media, but with an eye-catcher among the statements:

Lobsang Wangdu, for instance, says that only in recent years did he see some civil society groups supporting Tibet appearing in India and after having lived in India for over 10 years, he has never had a single Indian friend, many Tibetans are like that. I asked him whether this may be because India is too big, has too many people, too many different religions and cultures? He said that this could be one reason, but also thought that Tibetans had not made enough effort; at the same time, however, he also felt that it is difficult to come into contact with Indians.

The debate described by Woeser also involves the Karmapa incident, apparently referring to Indian allegations that the Karmapa Lama were a man of many connections into China, i. e. a Chinese spy, and in violation of India’s Foreign Exchange Regulation Act. The Lama was reportedly cleared of the forex allegations soon after.

Kabir Bedi, an Indian television and film actor whose mother converted to Tibetan Buddhism, urged the authorities to show the Karmapa Lama more respect:

The Karmapa’s office applied for, and received, permission to bank the money under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act. Inexplicably, this permission was withdrawn after the first $1,00,000 was received. And the Karmapa’s re-application has been pending, and pending, since 2002. What can a monk do with a growing pile of donations that can’t be banked, except to keep it in cash and use it for expenses?

And [h]ow would we look if he – the Karmapa Lama – sought asylum in a friendlier country?

To look at clerics as useless moneybags is a tradition that goes far beyond China, India, or Tibet. But while Mountain Phoenix may prefer secular literature, Chinese politics has proven that Tibetan Buddhism is actually much more scientific than she might think.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Obituary: Vaclav Havel, 1936 – 2011

Vaclav Havel,  the playwright, essayist, dissident and politician, died in the night on Sunday, reportedly in his sleep, and tended to by his wife Dagmar, reports Radio Prague.  In another article, Radio Prague describes Havel’s career as a playwright – despite having been barred from formal college humanities education by the Communist regime -, and as a dissident. In the 1990s, he served as Czechoslovakia’s last, and as the Czech Republic’s first president.

Chinese media are only slowly reacting, possibly given the time of day when news about Havel’s death broke, but IFeng (Phoenix, Hong Kong) provides a historical photo timeline, and 163.com republished IFeng’s piece, also today. (As is custom in Chinese, his age is stated as 76 there, counting his day of birth as his first birthday.) There was nothing to be found online on Xinhua Net in Chinese by 15:30 GMT , but Xinhua’s English outlet carries a short news article.

Another short note was available on CNTV, but has apparently since been removed or relocated.

China’s media didn’t seem to have a pre-prepared obituary in store for Havel – and to describe his life is probably a challenge in China. Not only was Havel a dissident – he kept practicing solidarity with dissidents elsewhere, after Czechoslovakia became a free society. In his last public appearance, early last week, he met with the Dalai Lama, who reportedly asked him to live at least another ten years.

Woeser learned about Havel’s death from Twitter, and wrote about her feelings on her blog. From her message to the Czech Republic’s embassy in Beijing [links within added during translation]:

I’m deeply saddened to learn about Mr. Havel’s passing.

惊闻哈维尔先生去世,心里非常难过。

I’m Tibetan, an independent author, and have always seen Mr. Havel as a spiritual guide, feeling uplifted from reading his works.

我是一位藏人,一位独立作家,一直以来,奉哈维尔先生为精神导师,从他的著作中得到精神的提升。

As a Tibetan, I’m deeply grateful for Mr. Havel’s attention for the Tibetan issue and Tibet’s predicament. I remember him saying that only after visiting Tibet and Taiwan, he would visit Beijing. This meaningful line is something we won’t forget.

而且,身为藏人,深深地感激哈维尔先生对于西藏问题、西藏处境的关注。
记得他说过,只有在访问西藏和台湾之后,才会访问北京。这句意味深长的话,我们铭记在心。

Eight days ago, on “World Human Rights Day”, His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, arrived in the Czech Republic, on Havel’s invitation. I saw several photos of His Holiness and Mr. Havel on the internet, and I felt deeply moved.

八天前,尊者达赖喇嘛应哈维尔先生的邀请,于“世界人权日”抵达捷克。
我从网上看见尊者达赖喇嘛与哈维尔先生的多张合影,非常感动。

On one of the photos, I saw His Holiness express his deep respect for Mr. Havel,  on a second photo, I saw the deep friendship between the two great men, and seeing the walking stick on the third photo, I felt astonished – I had never thought of him as an old man, or even about his health…

从合影中,一是看到了尊者对哈维尔先生的深深敬意,二是看到了两位伟人之间的深厚情谊,三是看到了哈维尔先生的拐杖而觉得惊讶,一直以为他不老,且健康…

Following Tibetan tradition, I have lighted a memorial candle for Mr. Havel, in front of my household’s Buddhist shrine, and I sincerely pray that he will be born again – this world needs him!

此刻,我以藏人的方式,在佛龛上燃烛悼念哈维尔先生,
并且由衷地祈愿他乘愿再来,这个世界需要他!!

Thank you!
Woeser

谢谢!
唯色(Tsering Woeser)

Beijing, December 18, 2011

I never read Havel’s works, but I did read some of his essays. In the 1980s, probably in a book published by Freimut Duve, I found this essay – in German, that is:

One legacy of that original “correct” understanding is a third peculiarity that makes our systems different from other modern dictatorships: it commands an incomparably more precise, logically structured, generally comprehensible and, in essence, extremely flexible ideology that, in its elaborateness and completeness, is almost a secularized religion. [...]  To wandering humankind it offers an immediately available home: all one has to do is accept it, and suddenly everything becomes clear once more, life takes on new meaning, and all mysteries, unanswered questions, anxiety, and loneliness vanish. Of course, one pays dearly for this low-rent home: the price is abdication of one’ s own reason, conscience, and responsibility, for an essential aspect of this ideology is the consignment of reason and conscience to a higher authority.

I read this when I was a teenager, and it came to my mind right away when I heard of Vaclav Havel’s death, earlier today. I don’t feel in a position to juge if he was one of “Europe’s  great thinkers”, but it doesn’t matter to me anyway. Reading his essay had a profound impact on me. Havel discussed what we might call “abstract” issues in a way even an adolescent like me, lucky enough to live west of the iron curtain back then, would bear in mind, and gradually understand, almost without re-reading.

____________

Related

Dauernde Vergewaltigung der Gesellschaft, Vaclav Havel, January 1980

____________

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 39 other followers