by Gearóid Ó Colmáin / June 11th, 2012
Last year Tibet’s revered “spiritual leader” the Dalai Lama visited Toulouse in France for a festival celebrating Tibetan culture, while the Chinese government celebrated 60 years of communist rule in Tibet. The Tibetan spiritual leader gave lectures on the principles of Tibetan Buddhism; tolerance among religions and international peace. As a mark of respect for the Dalai Lama, the city of Toulouse was draped in the colours of the Tibet separatist movement.
In 1959, Anna Louise Strong visited an exhibition of torture equipment that had been used by the Tibetan overlords. There were handcuffs of all sizes, including small ones for children, and instruments for cutting off noses and ears, gouging out eyes, breaking off hands, and hamstringing legs. There were hot brands, whips, and special implements for disemboweling. The exhibition presented photographs and testimonies of victims who had been blinded or crippled or suffered amputations for thievery. There was the shepherd whose master owed him a reimbursement in yuan and wheat but refused to pay. So he took one of the master’s cows; for this he had his hands severed. Another herdsman, who opposed having his wife taken from him by his lord, had his hands broken off. There were pictures of Communist activists with noses and upper lips cut off, and a woman who was raped and then had her nose sliced away. 3
A former serf declares that without the CCP there would not have been a life for serfs like him. Another interviewee, the son of a well-known living Buddha and the most outstanding Tibetan photographer, states he really believed in Mao and thought everything said by Mao was the universal truth. In the 1980s when he was received by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (outside China) he told his Holiness that it was the truth that the majority of the Tibetans supported the CCP because the CCP really liberated the serfs. The first interviewee, an ordinary Tibetan woman in Lhasa, states that Mao helped a lot of people, that the world cannot do without people like Mao, that Tibet used to be unfair when some were rich while some did not have enough to eat and that Mao’s revolution changed everything.7
The policy of protecting the freedom of religious belief, protecting the patriotic and law-abiding temples and monasteries and protecting the historical cultural relics must be strictly adhered to in the democratic reform as in the past. A campaign must be launched in the temples and monasteries against rebellion, feudal prerogatives and exploitation.The policy of “buying out” is to be followed in dealing with the land and other means of production of patriotic and law-abiding temples and monasteries. The livelihood of the lamas is to be arranged for by the government. Subsidies will be given where the income of the temples and monasteries is not sufficient to meet their proper spending.9
to demonise Mao is the right politics of course. When someone pasted some criticism of the Chang and Halliday book on the Amazon sales website, it was immediately attacked as ‘ugly Chinese propaganda’(Jin Xiaoding 2005). On the other hand, Jin’s critique of the book was met with absolute silence by the Western media (no Western media outlet was ready to publish the 17 questions raised by Jin). WQhen the Chinese version of Jin’s critique appeared on the Chinese language website duowei, there was a lively debate. Jung Change had to admit, when asked, that Jin’s 17 questions are good questions but refused to provide convincing replies to them.For Western media it does not matter as long as the politics is right, and the right politics is that Mao must be discredited.11
It came from Nazi Germany, a dangerous little chemical weapon,
If you inhale the mysterious vapor, you will fall with bloody vomit
from your mouth,
Sarin! Sarin! Sarin — the chemical weapon.
Song of Sarin, the brave.
In the peaceful night of Matsumoto City
People can be killed, even with our own hands,
Everywhere there are dead bodies,
There! Inhale Sarin, Sarin,
Prepare Sarin! Prepare Sarin! Immediately poisonous gas weapons
Will fill the place.
Spray! Spray! Sarin, the brave Sarin.16
If he’s really Buddha, if he’s really god, you know, he won’t create so many problems, you know, he won’t give us such trouble. I believe if he is a Buddha, he won’t create any problem for one human being, so we have changed our mind now, we don’t see him as we saw him earlier.
In France we tend to associate Tibet with the Dalai Lama but there are many Tibetans who are Buddhists, who think that China actually contributed something to Tibet.
So just how taboo is it to criticize the Dalai Lama?
It’s completely taboo. Actually our shooting of the reportage was very difficult because we had our camera smashed in. The Dalai Lama is considered as a living god. He has achieved a level of clairvoyance that means that every decision he takes is the rule of law. If you criticize the Dalai Lama, you are judged to be a Chinese spy.
The Lhasa of tradition, for instance, capital of the Lamaist world, could hardly be described as an exemplary ecological site but rather, as a number of world travelers have reported, was until the mid-twentieth century one of the dirtiest cities on the planet. As a rule, refuse was tipped unto the street. The houses had no toilets. Everywhere, wherever they were, the inhabitants unburdened themselves. Dead animals were left to rot in public places. For such reasons the stench was so penetrating and nauseating that the XIII Dalai Lama felt sick every time he had to traverse the city. Nobles who stepped out usually held a handkerchief over their nose. 19
The cause [of the despotism] is the invisible disease which is still there and which develops immediately if met with various conditions. And what is this disease? It is your clinging to your own power. It is a fact that even at that time if someone would have used democracy on you, you would not have been able to accept it. … Your Holiness, you wish to be a great leader, but you do not know that in order to fulfill the wish, a ‘political Bodhisattva vow’ is required. So you entered instead the wrong ‘political path of accumulation’ (tsog lam) and that has lead you on a continuously wrong path. You believed that in order to be a greater leader you had to secure your own position first of all, and whenever any opposition against you arose you had to defend yourself, and this has become contagious. … Moreover, to challenge lamas you have used religion for your own aim. To that purpose you had to develop the Tibetan people’s blind faith. … For instance, you started the politics of public Kalachakra initiations.Normally the Kalachakra initiation is not given in public. Then you started to use it continuously in a big way for your politics. The result is that now the Tibetan people have returned to exactly the same muddy and dirty mixing of politics and religion of lamas which you yourself had so precisely criticized in earlier times. … You have made the Tibetans into donkeys. You can force them to go here and there as you like. In your words you always say that you want to be Ghandi but in your action you are like a religious fundamentalist who uses religious faith for political purposes. Your image is the Dalai Lama, your mouth is Mahatma Ghandi and your heart is like that of a religious dictator. You are a deceiver and it is very sad that on the top of the suffering that they already have the Tibetan people have a leader like you. Tibetans have become fanatics. They say that the Dalai Lama is more important than the principle of Tibet. … Please, if you feel like being like Gandhi, do not turn the Tibetan situation in the church dominated style of 17th century Europe.20In Dharamsala, no one is allowed to question or criticize the god-king and those who do not worship him are threatened, harassed and sometimes killed. Names of Dorje Shogdun practitioners appear on the doors of shops, warning people not to talk or serve them. Articles have appeared in the local media in India encouraging violence against practitioners of Dorje Shugden. When the Dalai Lama was confronted with written proof of this by a Swiss documentary maker, he haughtily dismissed it as “idle rumour.21
The budget figures for the CIA’s Tibetan program are contained in a memo dated Jan. 9, 1964. It was evidently written to help justify continued funding for the clandestine intelligence operation.Support of 2,100 Tibetan guerrillas based in Nepal: $500,000,” the document says. “Subsidy to the Dalai Lama: $180,000.” After listing several other costs, it concludes: “Total: $1,735,000.” The files show that this budget request was approved soon afterward.22