Jun 19

“Down with the Dalai Lama” – Western criticism

Written by Buxi on Thursday, June 19th, 2008 at 12:15 am
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Well, we are a little behind the curve here at Fool’s Mountain. An article titled “Down with the Dalai Lama” was published* by the Guardian a few weeks ago, and I was completely ignorant of it until the Chinese translation began to be passed around. (*Was it actually published in print, or is it only available online?)

Here are a few choice snippets from that article:

The Dalai Lama says he wants Tibetan autonomy and political independence. Yet he allows himself to be used as a tool by western powers keen to humiliate China. Between the late 1950s and 1974, he is alleged to have received around $15,000 a month, or $180,000 a year, from the CIA. He has also been, according to the same reporter, “remarkably nepotistic”, promoting his brothers and their wives to positions of extraordinary power in his fiefdom-in-exile in Dharamsala, northern India.

He poses as the quirky, giggly, modern monk who once auctioned his Land Rover on eBay for $80,000 and has even done an advert for Apple (quite what skinny white computers have got to do with Buddhism is anybody’s guess). Yet in truth he is a product of the crushing feudalism of archaic, pre-modern Tibet, where an elite of Buddhist monks treated the masses as serfs and ruthlessly punished them if they stepped out of line.

The Dalai Lama demands religious freedom. Yet he persecutes a Buddhist sect that worships a deity called Dorje Shugden.

As the Dalai Lama tours Britain, lots of people are asking: why won’t Brown receive him at Downing Street? I have a different question: why should Brown, who for all his troubles is still the head of an elected political party, meet with an authoritarian, fame-chasing, Apple-loving monk?

The Guardian column links to a related editorial (“Behind Dalai Lama’s holy cloak”) from The Age (Australia), dating all the way back to 2007:

Rarely do journalists challenge the Dalai Lama.

Partly it is because he is so charming and engaging. Most published accounts of him breeze on as airily as the subject, for whom a good giggle and a quaint parable are substitutes for hard answers. But this is the man who advocates greater autonomy for millions of people who are currently Chinese citizens, presumably with him as head of their government. So, why not hold him accountable as a political figure?

No mere spiritual leader, he was the head of Tibet’s government when he went into exile in 1959. It was a state apparatus run by aristocratic, nepotistic monks that collected taxes, jailed and tortured dissenters and engaged in all the usual political intrigues.

The government set up in exile in India and, at least until the 1970s, received $US1.7 million a year from the CIA…. The Dalai Lama himself was on the CIA’s payroll from the late 1950s until 1974, reportedly receiving $US15,000 a month ($US180,000 a year).

Like many Asian politicians, the Dalai Lama has been remarkably nepotistic, appointing members of his family to many positions of prominence. In recent years, three of the six members of the Kashag, or cabinet, the highest executive branch of the Tibetan government-in-exile, have been close relatives of the Dalai Lama.

He has kept Tibet on the front pages around the world, but to what end? The main achievement seems to have been to become a celebrity. Possibly, had he stayed quiet, fewer Tibetans might have been tortured, killed and generally suppressed by China.

I don’t think anything new is being introduced here, although it’s certainly refreshing to see a cynical spotlight on the Dalai Lama. If there’s one message from these editorials that I really hope sticks to the Western consciousness, is that the Dalai Lama’s role as a politician should be separated from that of the Dalai Lama as a spiritual leader. If George Bush happened to be a particularly adorable Methodist preacher, should that change anyone’s views of his political agenda?

Let’s evaluate the Dalai Lama’s political proposals from a political perspective.

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48 Responses to ““Down with the Dalai Lama” – Western criticism”

  1. BMY Says:

    I think most of us on this blog ,including anti-commie FOARP ,know the facts the Guardian articles talked about.

    The serf(with political/religion) system in old Tibet chosed Dalai Lama when he was a baby. He wasn’t doing too much administrative duties as a baby and teen. His brothers were chosen as high ranks also by the system when he was young. To blame Lalai on the serf system is not very fair.

    Regardless whether people think he is more a monk, or a politician or a celebrity or a dictator or both, we have to face the reality on the ground. whatever we think it is right or not and whatever we like it or not. Dalai Lama is the the over all leader in TBIE and is also the religion leader seen by big portion of Tibetans if not everyone in Tibetan area in China. Dalai Lama has big audience and has big moral authority in the west.

    As long as the government has to or wants to talk with him, constantly bashing him by government officers and media dose not serve well the goal. I think we need show some respect no matter we like him or not.

  2. Nimrod Says:

    Certainly the outdated slogans against him by the government don’t work. Now this kind of article does, thanks to recent events (I would assume). Speaking in terms that your audience understands is half the battle, and China ceded that to the TGIE for no good reason.

  3. Anon Says:

    Yawn! “…Dalai Lama’s role as a politician should be separated from that of the Dalai Lama as a spiritual leader.” I does seem to take some people a long time to understand that the Tibetans themselves actually want their religious leader to be their secular leader too. It is not because Europe (not to mention China) has implemented a clear separation of church and state that this is the default model in any country – have a look at a lot of Islamic countries. Moreover, using the US as an examples puts you on a very slippery slope, considering the strong influence of the more fundamentalist churches in the politics of that country. Finally, you have (inadvertently?) included the last sentence of the Age report, which summarises the situation in Tibet quite nicely, regardless of the status of the Dalai Lama.

  4. Nimrod Says:


    Does it matter? We’re only talking about the court of public opinion, not one that will decide Tibet’s fate. If a theocracy is what Tibetans want (with Dalai Lama at its head), let’s air that: I don’t mind it at all, but the Dalai Lama and his supporters do (from their backpedaling).

  5. S.K. Cheung Says:

    THis actually seems in keeping with the natural life-cycle of celebrity figures in western culture. Although a long time in the making, the DL has been in the mainstream spotlight for a shorter period of time; he was certainly not a rock-star in 1959. For the last while, events have thrust him into the focus of the spotlights, and he’s done well to cultivate that appeal. But as with all such figures, eventually there is the airing of the dirty laundry, and the voices of criticism build. It’ll be interesting to see where the equilibrium of western opinion will ultimately rest regarding the DL. Clearly, Chinese opinion of him will be of a much different tenor. But in the end that matters not, for if the Chinese want a discussion, he’s their guy, like him or loathe him.

  6. FOARP Says:

    @SK Cheung – Even Nelson Mandela is starting to draw criticism for his stance on Zimbabwe nowadays, and everyone forgets about the guerilla campaign he was preparing.

    @Nimrod – I doubt that most of the Tibetans who say that they want the DL as their leader actually understand what a theocracy is, I suspect that most of them would be very happy with democratic autonomy in which the DL had some kind of titular role as ‘defender of the faith’ or what have you.

    @BMY – Agreed.

  7. FOARP Says:

    @Buxi – I’m curious – where does the name ‘fools mountain’ come from?

  8. AC Says:

    ‘fools mountain’ comes from 愚公移山。

    The Western stereotypes, cliches, misunderstandings, bias and prejudice toward China is the “mountain.”

    Buxi and many of us here who try to move that “mountain” are the “fools.”

  9. Nimrod Says:

    FOARP and Anon,

    All right, you guys are good at conflating issues. Is this a “skill”?

    I didn’t say Tibetans don’t want theocracy and I didn’t say Tibetans do want theocracy. I said “if” they want theocracy, then etc. etc. etc.

    And while many of us think the DL should not be both a spiritual leader and a secular leader simultaneously, that isn’t what Buxi said either. He made a weaker (logically speaking) proposition that the DL’s two roles should be separately assessed.

  10. FOARP Says:

    @AC – All I can say is that mountains never stand alone.

    @Buxi – According to the Guardian’s website it was not in that day’s edition, so it must have been one of their blog posts.

  11. Buxi Says:


    I does seem to take some people a long time to understand that the Tibetans themselves actually want their religious leader to be their secular leader too.

    If I’m not going to speak for the “Chinese people” as a single entity, you sure as heck don’t get to speak for the Tibetan people as an entity!

    I don’t even know how many religious Tibetans “want” the Dalai Lama as their secular leader; after all, even before 1950 many Tibetans didn’t “want” the Dalai Lama as their secular leader (see: Shigatse, Amdo/Kham). It’s probably more accurate to say that for most, they don’t really care about secular leadership as much as religious leadership.

    But even if I were to concede (as you seem to suggest) that Tibetans really want a theocracy, so what? Are there any communities in your home country that might express interest in a theocracy? Are you inclined to support them?

    I’m in favor of preserving Tibetan culture and language; I’m in favor of greater religious freedom; I’m in favor of greater affirmative action and economic measures that help Tibetans in China. However, I’m also absolutely, 100% against any sort of theocratic rule in Tibet or any other part of China. The sort of “defender of the faith” solution that FOARP mentions above is acceptable to me, though.

    Finally, you have (inadvertently?) included the last sentence of the Age report, which summarises the situation in Tibet quite nicely, regardless of the status of the Dalai Lama.

    I’m fine with that summary, especially since I read it with a value-neutral eye. There are certainly Tibetans who have been tortured, suppressed, and even killed in China because of the Dalai Lama’s political campaign. As long as the political campaign that the Dalai Lama led for decades continues, then while illegal torture should be stopped, legal suppression should also continue.

  12. Buxi Says:

    In the mean time, a renewed separatist movement has broken out amongst Ghorkhas in India. See Reuters report. One of the leaders of the movement threatened to call on all of the Ghorkhas serving in the Indian military to rise up. Any easy solutions to this one?

    I think there is a very great likelihood that India will disintegrate into smaller pieces at some point this century.

  13. Buxi Says:

    But in the mean time, Indians on a popular chat-board are busy pondering how/when they will get a chance to fight a war against China in Tibet.

    War inside Tibet – goals, strategies and equipment

    this thread will be meant to discuss how best to deal with the PRC on our long land frontier and include the Nepal factor as well because Nepal is a thin country controlled by Maoists who can pretend to play dead if and when the PRC desires to move through its territory.

    the indian public and Govt has mostly operated on a defensive mentality wrt to PRC, never thinking about taking back what was ours (aksai chin) and always tied up in how best to “defend” the ladakh, sikkim or arunachal – very difficult terrain and with paltry logistics so far.

    the prime GOAL of the next war over Tibet must be to create a new LOC (line of control).

  14. Nimrod Says:


    India basically had the three Himalayan south-slope fiefdoms (Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan) as protectorates with India in full control in all but name. We know what happened to Sikkim. Bhutan was able to renegotiate somewhat. Nepal is a bit peeved at the arrangement.

    Hindu nationalists have always seen Tibet as “theirs” more than China’s, maybe on the basis of religion. They think Mapam Yutso (a lake in TAR) belongs to them, for example.
    I’m not too worried about them though. Even if they didn’t learn their lesson decades ago, what are they going to do? China and India are both nuclear states.

  15. yo Says:

    India and Tibet?! Well, you learn something new everyday….

  16. yingying Says:

    If you care about Tibetans, stop kicking Dalai Lama as a Political football for selfish Political Gains, they have no concern of Tibetans, most do not even know where Tibet is on the map, I had been in Tibet for 4 years working with them and knew people worked with Tibetans in India. If you really care about Tibetans, you should do it constructively. There are so many Tibetans in Europe and USA, open your arms help them. Who actually give jobs to Tibetans?? it is oversea Chinese. My sister’s family friend hired a Tibetans family of three came from India. Mom died where the kids were young, the father took them around Europe, can not survive there, then USA, no one would hire them since they do not any education, speak No English or Chinese, yet the Chinese felt sorry for the family, hired them. Kids said oversea Chinese has been very good to them, most European and American looked down at them, making fun of them, they are learning how to speak Chinese, hoping one day they can return China. Life in India, Europe and USA has been very hard to them, yet Dalai Lama is the most important thing in their life, they will drop everything if he calls, they will die for him. Go to Tibet, go to India to live with Tibetan there for a while, find the real solutions for them as so many other Chinese and non-Chinese have done for so many years, or give money to them, help them catch up with the rest of the world, it is Called “Education” or they will be left behind as many around the world. It is the world “Winner takes All”.

  17. demin Says:

    “Even Nelson Mandela is starting to draw criticism for his stance on Zimbabwe nowadays, and everyone forgets about the guerilla campaign he was preparing.”

    If someone uses his nice image as a tool to do (political) business, that image should surely be examined. (At this point I remember the case of that American gay priest,though it’s not a perfectly fitting example here) If you just present yourself as a business man doing business, as a political figure usually does (especially on international stage), then fine, nobody cares what you do out of your business. To use a line from my favorite movie “God Father”:”It’s strictly business,not personal”. (Here I mean revealing DL’s true color)

  18. JL Says:

    I seem to have weighed in on all the Tibet threads so far, so I won’t make this one an exception…
    Kudos to the Guardian, the Age and Buxi: diversity of opinions is always good, and especially in this case when it shows that, contrary to what some people claim, the Western media is not engaged in some kind of gigantic conspiracy against China.

    Other than that, I agree with S.K. Cheung. However we might criticize the Dalai Lama (and sure, it’s possible to do so), he does seem to have the support of a lot of Tibetans, so he’s still the one to negotiate with if we would seek dialogue and peace.

    I’m also interested to see that the topic of India has arisen -I checked a map a few weeks ago and was surprised to see just how big the difference is between Chinese, Indian and Western maps are. Buxi; the theme of seperatism and unity pervades Indian history just as it does Chinese history; I personally wouldn’t make any bets regarding either country.

  19. Buxi Says:

    I think the Dalai Lama is certainly a politician with some influence, backed by the threat of possible violence… in that sense, not very different from al-Sadr in Iraq, Khaled Mashal of Hamas, Nasralla of Hezbollah.

    It’d certainly “be nice” if a mutually acceptable solution could be worked out, and it sounds like both sides are working in that direction.  Beijing has worked out mutually acceptable solutions with Japan and Taiwan this year without any hint of embarrassment, without showing much concern about the opinion of conservatives.  There’s little doubt in my mind that the current government in Beijing is as progressive and liberal (on foreign policy) as anything we’ve seen in 5 decades… I think by all indications, Beijing will be “reasonable”     when working with the Dalai Lama, so the real question is if there really is any shared common ground between the two sides.

  20. raffiaflower Says:

    I was surfing for info about naadi leaves, and found this entry on Shekhar Kapur’s blog, and wanted to post this here. The comments were also interesting.

    “Yesterday the Times of India asked me to comment on the possibility of the Dalai Lama going to the Beijing Olympics and of course, journalism being what it is in India, outrageously misquoted me. I said that the Dalai Lama should go to the Olympic, because if he did, the people of China would embrace His presence and that could start a non confrontational political dialog that could give some kind of autonomy to Tibet. Of course the Times of India misquoted me as saying that his presence at the Olympics would ’embarrass’ the people of China into provoking a dialog. A little bit of difference between embarrass and embrace, wouldn’t you say ? ”

  21. yingying Says:

    Please read if you care what happened to Tibet:

  22. FOARP Says:


    “al-Sadr in Iraq, Khaled Mashal of Hamas, Nasralla of Hezbollah.”

    Except that he is not the leader of a terrorist armed militia – this is a somewhat bizarre comparison. If there is a suitable comparison, it is that of the Emperor Haile Selassie, a man who ran a backward feudal state and who became something of a white elephant during his sojourn in the west.

  23. Buxi Says:

    Except that he is not the leader of a terrorist armed militia

    Note that Hezbollah isn’t recognized by the EU and many other organizations as a terrorist organization. Hamas’s role in terrorism, internationally speak, is also not clear. I’m also not aware of any allegations that al-Sadr’s organization is terrorist.

    I think you mean the Dalai Lama is no longer the leader of an armed militia. I don’t think you mean to dispute that he certainly was, for more than a decade.

  24. Nimrod Says:

    FOARP, give up the notion already that there is anything special about the Dalai Lama. Even Yasser Arafat got a Nobel Peace Prize. Doesn’t mean anything.

  25. FOARP Says:

    @Nimrod – I never suffered under any such illusion, I just don’t think he is the evil genius that so many Chinese imagine him to be – without ever being able to show any evidence linking him to the riots how can people make such allegations?

  26. demin Says:

    “I never suffered under any such illusion, I just don’t think he is the evil genius that so many Chinese imagine him to be – without ever being able to show any evidence linking him to the riots how can people make such allegations?”

    Can you give some evidence showing “many Chinese” believes DL is an evil genius? We are just chanllenging DL’s allegations that he has nothing to do with the violence and testing the chance that he plays a part–directly or indirectly–in the violence, which some evidences shows he does. And in this regard a title of nobel peace prize winner doesn’t mean anything at all, just as  with the case of Arafat. And an additonal indication on this: DL even openly supported India’s nuclear plan, through which he apparrantly wanted to draw some political support from his patron country. Nobel Peace Prize winner? 
    It seems that it is you who has too much imagination about what “many Chinese” thinks.   

  27. Buxi Says:


    I described the Dalai Lama as being similar to al-Sadr, and the leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah in some ways.  Are you saying those three are all “evil geniuses”, in your mind?  None of them, including the Dalai Lama, are evil geniuses in my mind.
    I think most Chinese aren’t convinced that the Dalai Lama is directly involved in the 3/14 riots.  But his record in fanning the rhetoric and protests after the riots is obvious.  I still haven’t gotten around to blogging about the list of “dead Tibetans” that the government-in-exile published.

  28. FOARP Says:

    @Demin – You cannot ‘allege’ that you didn’t do something, not unless you think that someone is guilty until proven otherwise.

    As for the ‘many Chinese’ believing this – you might have noticed that Xinhua, the Chinese government, and every other pro-Beijing source out there attributed the riots to the ‘Dalai Clique’.

    As for the Nobel peace prize, it is most definitely somewhat debased coinage, I have never made the DL out to be some kind of super pacifist, I would just like to see some – any – proof linking him to the riots.

    @Buxi – Hizbollah, Hamas, and Al-Sadr have all been way more successful than the DL’s rather amateurish organisation. Al-Sadr’s organisation controls most of Basra and Sadr City, Hamas controls the Gaza strip and is moving on the West Bank, Hizbollah is becoming the main power broker in Lebanon and sent the Israelis packing in 2006 – what has the DL acheived in more than forty years of ‘struggle’ except a PR coup? How did Deng Xiaoping describe the invasion of Tibet? “Like a tiger swatting a fly”?

  29. demin Says:

    The legal custom I know is that the burden of proof is on the one who makes charges. Well, now that you have given some proof, that’s fine, fair enough, except it is not much a counterfact to the major argument proposed here.

  30. FOARP Says:

    @Demin – That argument being? The drive of the Guardian piece seemed to be that the DL is no angel – I did not dispute this. I just thought that comparing a budhist leader to Al-Sadr was something of a stretch.

  31. GB Shaw Says:

    The Guardian article was  by Brendan O’Neill. I think the DL must have done something good if he has made enemies of the far right (O’Neill has moved from the extreme left  – Revolutionary Communist Party – to the neo con reactionary corner).

  32. FOARP Says:

    @GB Shaw – Last I checked Shaw himself went from supporting eugenics to being pals with Uncle Joe – from one kind of fascism to another is no long trip. In O’Neill’s case I cannot see how he can be called a ‘Neo Con reactionary’, even if this did put him on the far right – it doesn’t.

  33. The Trapped! Says:

    Hi Buxi,
    I am really disappointed by your this statement: “legal suppression should also continue” Legal suppression? Japanese people at the time might have said that Nanjing massacre was a legal suppression.
    If you are supportive of any sort of suppression, then you do not need pen or computer, instead you should go for gun and baton and come to Lhasa and clean up what you think Wujin could not do.
    I thought you are also some kind of intellectual, at least at Chinese standard. So, I posted some ideas, thinking that there would always be some bridge if we wish. But finally you showed your true face, a wolf hiding behind screen. Now, go and join wujin or jiefang jun. I think that’s where your destiny is. Please don’t mess with those who wants to discuss based on humanity, common sense and moral-value.
    And concerning theocracy and DL, Tibetans know better than you think. Don’t you think how arrogant you guys are, saying that you know more about Tibetans than Tibetans themselves do? Is that based on what you were taught back there in the school–the darkest, the backwardnesses, the barbarian? With such insult and prejudice coming everyday, would anybody wonder why the March riot happen? Does DL need to inspire to rebel? Those incidents were caused by such insult and prejudice faced for decades.
    Hey guys who are in American, have you ever considered why you guy hates the whites so much? Because you are bellied, insulted, I mean even not only you, but your country as well. So, by now you should know what insult and prejudice can bring about. Want to talk about March incident, blame for Han people’s arrogance. Otherwise we could have had harmonious China long ago, but you Han people never let it happen, always thinking that they are the decision-maker, the helper and the guidance. Xinjiang has same story if you want to learn.

  34. Buxi Says:

    @The Trapped,

    No, I don’t think the Nanjing massacre was “legal suppression”. There is nothing legal about killing innocent civilians, and I mean that very seriously in both Tibet and Nanjing. Those involved in illegal killings in Tibet should face a court-room.

    However, even if China’s legal system is weak, we do have a legal system. Even if parts of our constitution isn’t treated seriously, we do have a constitution. When I talk about “legal suppression”, I mean taking the steps within the law (which the vast majority of Chinese support) about a political issue.

    I don’t mean the arbitrary arrest of people who look Tibetan. I don’t mean forcing Tibetan monks into signing oaths that condemn the Dalai Lama. I definitely don’t mean silencing all Tibetans complaining about issues other than the independence issue. But I do believe China should continue to outlaw public protests that call for separatism, and I believe China should continue to outlaw racist propaganda.

    Hey guys who are in American, have you ever considered why you guy hates the whites so much?

    I don’t hate the whites at all. I don’t think any of the regular bloggers on this blog hates whites. My reaction to the “insults” that China faced this year is to try to talk to Americans in a logical, reasonable way. I hope that this will make them better understand us, better respect us.

    Tibetans might do better if you tried to do the same thing with the “arrogant Han”, instead of telling all of us that we are guilty of a crime. Tell me what you have done, with your own actions, to make Han better understand and respect the Tibetans.

  35. andy clark Says:

    DL’s public messages are beautiful and musical. They are very good for meditation and hypnosis. We may not need to blame him for the inhumane serf system in the old Tibet, as he was only a child. How about now? He is definitely not a child anymore. I was shocked to learn what he actually does to his fellow Buddhists. Can someone explain why he does that to his own men? Check out this report. http://www.westernshugdensociety.org/reports/dorje-shugden-ban-the-segregation-wall-at-ganden-monastery/

  36. Hemulen Says:


    But I do believe China should continue to outlaw public protests that call for separatism

    Well, the problem is that it is the government that decides what is separatism, verifiable subjective intentions carry no weight whatsoever in the Chinese legal system as it is today. No independent courts can strike down allegations of separatism. If you wave the snow lion flag as an expression of Tibetan cultural autonomy, you’ll be arrested and prosecuted all the same.

    …and what is wrong with separatism by the way? If the interests of the majority population in Tibet – the Tibetans – cannot be adequately protected under the current system, it is perfectly legitimate and understandable that people ask for a separate nation, a nation they believe is smothered by the People’s Republic. And to demand that Tibet is kept majority Tibetan is not more racist than it is to maintain immigration control in Hong Kong.

  37. FOARP Says:

    @Buxi – Outlawing public protests calling for separatism only makes sense if you are trying to out law separatism full stop. Why is a peaceful demonstration any more objectionable than a pamphlet, or a website, or a book, or a cartoon, or a flag. All you would be doing is criminalising the expression of a political opinion that is held by millions within the territories that the PRC government claims – is this what you want?

  38. Buxi Says:


    @Buxi – Outlawing public protests calling for separatism only makes sense if you are trying to out law separatism full stop.

    Well, separatism *is* specifically outlawed within the PRC constitution.

    I don’t believe there should be any thought crimes, but if agitating for certain political acts can be against the law (every country I’m aware of has a law against sedition/treason)… why can’t separatism?


    Well, the problem is that it is the government that decides what is separatism, verifiable subjective intentions carry no weight whatsoever in the Chinese legal system as it is today.

    Challenges within the legal issue is a different problem, and a very serious one. But while pursuing reforms in the legal system, we can still talk about the ultimate legal *solutions* we’re headed to.

    As far as what is wrong with separatism… I don’t know in what sense you mean it is “legitimate” for some percentage of Chinese citizens to call for it, but it must then also be “legitimate” in the same sense for other Chinese citizens to oppose it.

  39. barry titus Says:

    Snipings are like the smoke for those who have not located the fire.The central fact might tie all of these cluelets together. The central fact is that the Dalai Lama is used as a non evidence means of torture for enemies of the CIA:his telepathic powers are known as Varyadara, in Kagyu terminology.He has been harassing Barry Titus for fifteen years, and longer, and other members of his family.He has been in daiily association with the Clintons, since Jan 4, 1993. He has been hiding in a lawyer’s office IDiana Holand)in Tampa, since August, 2007.His behavior is anti Buddhist. He takes orders from Ed Kennedy and Suzan Cooper Goldberg.He is a brilliant telepath, and a tantric adept.B. Titus

  40. FOARP Says:

    @Buxi – Because you would be outlawing an opinion. Sedition and treason are acts, they involve conspiring to spy, or commit sabotage, in short they require criminal acts. There is nothing criminal in saying that something should be a certain way. Even inciting people to violence involves a specific criminal act, simply saying that Tibet, Xinjiang, or Taiwan should be independent in an opinion. Secession may be illegal under the law, but saying that it should be made legal is also only an opinion, it is not actually unilaterally seceding. Finally, making even the expression of pro-independence opinions illegal does not mean that they will disappear, rather it means that the people who do so will meet in secret, or beyond the reach of the state, and will become more likely to take up arms against the state and seek support from overseas. The only thing it achieves is the conviction amongst the uninformed that independence movements are foreign-inspired, as you will never see the opinions of those who support secession in domestic media, and it will hide the real situation from people outside of the areas in which pro-independence forces operate.

  41. Barry Titus Says:

    The Dalai Lama has been following Barry Titus around for fifteen years, to serve as an annoyance and a vehicle of communication for the Clintons, Ed Kennedy and their in group. As a Buddhist, the Dalai Lama is supposed to let people go when they attain enlightenment. He did not do that(in 1992) in this instance,but for CIA and Ed Kennedy money,remained affixed to Titus to allow the Clintons to harass him verbally.Mrs. Clinton’s anti male-‘ism, mainly.They are pretending to coerce Buddhism on the Jew Titus and such coercion Buddhism considers to be violence.So Tenzin is not non violent.He has lied on cue about the contents of Titus’s mind.The media lie about the whereabouts of the Dalai Lama who has been nowhere but New York City, Amsterdam, 1997-2007 and now Tampa Florida where he is hiding in a lawyer’s office with other Kagyupas taking orders from Hilary’s secret aide, Suzan Cooper Goldberg.

  42. Wyatt Says:


    Read the third commitment. I like this man. He doesn’t lie.

  43. lobsang dakpa Says:

    Dear blog friends, with humble regards and respects, I would like to join this blog commend to say something that how a Tibetan think over His Holiness Dalai lama. “Down with the Dalai Lama” seems to be a good article to those who always wait for some reasons to criticize H.H Dalai Lama, nevertheless how those few westerners think over him. He is the only man to whom whole Tibetans believe and trust of.

    It says that the His Holiness Dalai Lama has been remarkably nepotistic, appointing members of his family to many positions of prominence, in recent years , three of the six members of the Kashag, or cabinet, the highest executive branch of the Tibetan govt in exile, have been close relatives of His Holiness, for this baseless statement, I found it too ridiculous, the writer should not write these babble words without any knowledge about what he intended to say. I would like to ask the writer that who are having any blood relationship with His Holiness in our cabinet ? Could you name out those names? More than that, the writer even does not know how those cabinet members are being selected in recent form of Tibet Govt. I really hope he could write some thing with sound knowledge and proper research. Do not write something for just seek of writing. that is not going to help any of us.

  44. babu Says:


    By Joshua Michael Schrei
    “A lie repeated a hundred times becomes the
    -Chairman Mao

    As a lifelong activist who has worked on human rights issues around the globe, I hold the view that the best representatives of a culture are its people; that people create their own history, and
    in the case of the colonized or the oppressed that history is often rewritten by the oppressor. I do not assume that simply because a country is communist or socialist or capitalist that its practices toward its own people or its foreign policies are more or less honorable; beyond all the
    rhetoric, the reality of a situation can always be
    measured by the affected people themselves.
    The Tibet issue is one that the far left has found to be somewhat of a conundrum, for the simple reason that most other popular human rights struggles can be easily linked to a larger struggle
    against U.S. or European imperialism. Therefore
    these struggles – be it in Palestine, or East Timor, or Colombia, fit nicely into the larger – and often rather myopic – worldview of the
    However, Tibet is a case in which the struggle for basic rights and nationhood is being carried out against a communist government, so it has brought with it a host of questions for the leftist, who naturally leans towards socialism or communism as an ideological example of a system that stands in contrast to the ‘imperialist west’.
    China, the country that invaded Tibet in 1950, has stood as one such example- though the Chinese government’s practices over the last 53 years and its current bent towards totalitarian capitalism would tend to defy any labeling as a
    positive example. Nonetheless, China’s history of socialism and revolution remains as something of an inspiration for the Western left, and therefore certain historians- predominantly
    scholars with some form of Marxist or Maoist agenda- have seen the current popularity of the movement for Tibetan statehood and have taken it upon themselves to give a glimpse into the grim
    reality of ‘old Tibet.’
    The most recent historian to embrace this view of ‘old Tibet’ is Dr. Michael Parenti, a Yale scholar who, in the course of his career, has written on a variety of populist causes. To be fair, Parenti stops short -barely- of condoning the Chinese
    occupation. He does however, cast a decidedly unflattering view of life in pre-1950 Tibet.
    In his writing on Tibet, Parenti shares something in common with all of his predecessors -Anna Louise Strong, A. Tom Grunfeld, and Roma and Stuart Gelder among them- in that his writing on Tibet is essentially argumentative. He is not writing in order to give an unbiased history of a nation, he is writing in order to prove a point. In this case, the point he is trying to prove is that the society of ‘old Tibet’ was a terrible place, and that the
    resistance movement that is so visible today is essentially a movement to re-establish this
    despicable regime.
    In Parenti’s words, old Tibet was “a social order that was little more than a despotic retrograde theocracy of serfdom and poverty, so damaging to the human spirit, where vast wealth was
    accumulated by a favored few who lived high and mighty off the blood, sweat, and tears of the many. For most of the Tibetan aristocrats in exile, that is the world to which they fervently desire to return. It is a long way from Shangri- La.”

    I have chosen to dissect this thesis because it houses many of the common arguments presented by Chinese government propagandists on Tibet, as well as many of the arguments that modern day Marxists and Maoists regularly hurl at Tibet activists on internet chat rooms and at protests.
    As we will see, the flawed premise of this thesis illuminates how the far left has gone woefully off the mark in its efforts to undermine the legitimate struggle for Tibetan rights and statehood.

    Again, I am a firm believer in people’s history. And the core problem with Parenti’s position is that it is simply at odds with the statements,
    testimony, and shared history of the Tibetan people themselves – the people Parenti is supposedly defending. The view of Tibet that Parenti ascribes to has been commonly put forward by Chinese government officials – particularly the ones in the ministry of
    propaganda. Once upon a time it was a view embraced by a handful of British historians –
    most of them turn of the century explorers and
    colonists in their own right. But it has always been an outsider’s view, completely divorced from the reality of how Tibetans of all walks of life view their own society and their own history.

    In his descriptions of old Tibet, Parenti predominantly draws on the work of four
    historians – Anna Louise Strong, A. Tom Grunfeld, and Roma and Stuart Gelder. The fact that all of these historians had a romantic
    predilection towards Maoism and drew mostly on Chinese government statistics should surely be cause for concern as far as their legitimacy as
    source material. One certainly wouldn’t trust the
    Indonesian government’s party line on Aceh or East Timor. Or, for that matter, the U.S. government’s continued assertion that the Iraqi people welcome the current American occupation.
    Such manipulations of public sentiment, in which an occupation is presented as ‘the will of the people,’ are – as a rule – only employed to further the agenda of the occupier.
    For the most part, Parenti and the handful of historians who have adopted the view of old Tibet as a despotic feudal theocracy have had little if
    no contact with actual Tibetans either in or outside Tibet. Therefore, they have no real way of gauging the sentiments of the Tibetan people.
    Neither Parenti, Strong, Grunfeld, nor the Gelders speak Tibetan – or Chinese for that matter- so the body of historical literature on the Tibet issue that is available to them is extremely limited. Tom Grunfeld never went to
    Tibet until after his book was published. Anna Louise Strong – a diehard Marxist – was given a tightly monitored Chinese government tour of
    Lhasa and then went on to proclaim that “a million Tibetan serfs have stood up! They are burying the old serfdom and building a new
    tomorrow!” One might say that one doesn’t need to go to Paris to know the Eiffel tower exists.
    However, before dismissing an entire culture’s history as despotically repressive it is perhaps worth speaking to a few of its representatives.
    Instead, Grunfeld repeatedly draws on the writings of a handful of British colonial explorers, who – as explorers often do – wrote down every
    piece of suspicious folklore and hearsay as fact.
    Grunfeld’s source material for his depictions of Tibetans as cannibals, barbarians, and
    superstitious fanatics is no more credible than are the testimonials of early European explorers
    to Africa who spun yarns of three-headed natives. None of these depictions are
    corroborated by traditional Tibetan, Chinese, or Indian histories, which of course were not available to Grunfeld because of his lack of interest in learning the local language.
    Grunfeld also makes extensive use of the writings
    of Sir Charles Bell, who he quotes regularly and with no apparent regard for context. Bell’s stance was actually that Tibetans had been brutalized by the Chinese army and that Tibet was an independent nation of far greater ‘character’ than its neighbor. This seems to elude Grunfeld, who chops up Bell’s sentences in order to isolate the worst and most sensational aspects
    of Tibetan society and present them as fact.
    Grunfeld also makes cultural blunders that would make freshmen history students squirm. As award-winning author Jamyang Norbu points out in his brilliant essay The Acme of Obscenity , Grunfeld even mistranslates the Tibetan word for ‘Tibet’!

    Parenti does little better in his treatment of history, erroneously stating that the first Dalai Lama was installed by ‘the Chinese army’. One
    would presume that a Yale Ph.D. would know the
    difference between Chinese and Mongols. But apparently, in the Parenti-Grunfeld-Strong school of history, one word is as good as another
    and a Chinese is as good as a Mongol, as long as the point gets across.
    With such evisceration of history as common practice it quickly becomes obvious that none these historians’ writings on Tibet exist to
    illuminate true Tibetan history. In fact, neither
    Grunfeld, nor Strong, nor Parenti seem remotely interested in the specifics of the culture they’re discussing.

    For example, as Tashi Rapgey points out in her dissection of Tom Grunfeld’s ‘Making of Modern Tibet’, the three social classes that Grunfeld and Strong lump Tibetans into – landowners, serfs, and slaves – have no relation to the actual breakdown of Tibetan society. It is a completely arbitrary classification that has no basis in reality-Tibetan society was never classified along these terms. Certainly a historian writing on the
    caste system in India would not reclassify Indian society according to their own liking or invent names to suit their own vision?

    There were indeed indentured farmers in old Tibet. There were also merchants, nomads,
    traders, non-indentured farmers, hunters, herders, warlords, bandits, monks, nuns, musicians, theater actors and artists. Tibetan
    society was a vast, multi-faceted affair, as societies tend to be. To reduce it to three base experiences – and non-representative experiences at that – is to engage in the worst form of

    Not only are Strong and Grunfeld’s breakdowns of
    Tibetan society grossly
    miscategorized, their observations and criticisms are entirely removed from chronological and temporal reality. Folklore from hundreds of years ago, local myths, explorer’s whimsy, and selective historical incidents are presented all together as
    static truth. Every single bad thing, every monstrosity real or imagined that occurred in
    Tibet between 1447 and October 6, 1950 is ‘how it
    was’ in ‘old Tibet.’
    Fundamentally, this is not
    history. It is the crudest form of argumentative politics, drawing on selective quotes from non- native history – quite often the history of the occupiers themselves – and presenting it as fact.
    In fact the entire notion of ‘old Tibet’ or Tibet under the Dalai Lamas as a static is erroneous.
    Life under the 13th Dalai Lama was drastically different that life under the 6th or the 5th. By the time the 13th Dalai Lama came along, for example, the Tibetan government had banned the death penalty – it was one of the first countries in the world to do so. But somehow, in the mind
    of Grunfeld and Parenti and Strong, Tibetans are to be held accountable for the actions of their distant predecessors.

    That there was an imbalance of wealth in Tibet is quite true (There still is, only now the Chinese are the wealthy ones). Tibetans waged war,
    robbed each other, had strict laws and engaged in corporal punishment like all societies have done at various points in their history. But what is
    insidious about highlighting solely these aspects of Tibetan society is that these historians – Strong and Grunfeld particularly; Parenti is somewhat excused from this particular outrage-
    seem to be using ‘how it was’ in ‘old Tibet’ as a justification for invasion and occupation, just as the United States used the ‘savagery’ of the native populations as an excuse for their liquidation. This is the politics of the colonist to the core, in which the native is dehumanized and debased in order to make occupation more palatable, even necessary, or ‘civilizing.’

    Strong does not even conceal her glee at the ‘smashing’ of old Tibet. Politics aside, its rather frightening to think of celebrating the demise of a culture that one hasn’t had any direct contact with, whose existence one has only read about in books.
    The romanticism that historians like Strong and
    Grunfeld hold for the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet and the smashing of the old ways is based on an inherently flawed presumption that the invasion was some kind of people’s revolution. The Chinese government line, which Strong and Grunfeld and even Parenti seem to have bought into -is that the Tibetan people, and particularly the Tibetan peasantry, welcomed
    the occupation and in fact that it was they themselves who ‘overthrew the landlords.’ Such a
    supposition has no basis in fact.

    The Chinese army rolled into Chamdo in Eastern Tibet in October of 1950 and decimated the 8,000- man Tibetan fighting force that was assembled to resist them. That there were Tibetans who
    initially greeted the arrival of the Chinese is without question; that these Tibetans were the vast minority is also without question. Legitimate
    histories of Tibet, such as Tsering Shakya’s ‘Dragon in the Land of Snows’ corroborate this fact.

    Whatever romantic picture the Chinese government’s propaganda department paints of enslaved peasants casting off the bonds of
    feudalism, there is little in the way of factual evidence to support this. Most of the evidence produced by Beijing comes in the form of
    testimonials recorded by party cadres, whose questionable nature as a source of objective
    information should not even have to be mentioned, especially coming from a government that excels in ‘extracting testimonials.’ These testimonials are written in such propaganda-
    speak that it is nearly impossible to read them with a straight face; even more impossible to imagine anyone actually uttering the words.
    Oddly enough, in contrast to the Chinese government line that it was the Tibetan
    peasantry who readily embraced communism,
    communism was in fact much more popular – as it is in this country – among the educated elite. The Tibetan communist party was a creation of sons
    of wealthy aristocrats; the Tibetan peasantry on the other hand were the ones who eventually formed the brunt of resistance to Chinese
    government rule.

    Whatever the case, Tibetan opinion towards Beijing quickly cooled after the signing of the 17-point agreement in 1951, and certainly was not favorable by 1959, when a popular Tibetan uprising threatened China’s very grip on the
    nation. This resistance was for the most part carried out by Khampa tribesmen in Eastern Tibet, who had suffered some of the most brutal treatment at the hands of the Chinese government. That these fighters were for a time funded by the CIA does not – as Parenti seems to presume – represent some kind of trump card that de-legitimizes the aims, aspirations, and existence of the Tibetan resistance movement.

    The CIA used the Tibetans just as it has it used nationalist movements in dozens of countries around the world; with little thought for the local people and as a means of waging their own cold war. The Tibetan resistance fighters, who came from poor frontier villages in Eastern Tibet, were happy to have anyone on their side. They had no way of knowing the larger political framework that they had been sucked into. Ironically, it was the Dalai Lama who put an end to this resistance, by calling on the fighters to drop their arms and embrace nonviolent means of conflict resolution.

    As for the reality of the subsequent Chinese occupation, which every legitimate human rights
    organization in the world has labeled with terms like ‘cultural genocide’, it should hardly need further exposition. One of the most telling historical documents of the time is the Panchen
    Lama’s 70,000 word treatise to Chairman Mao on behalf of the Tibetan people. Not only is this document considered by serious historians to be
    one of the only reliable texts from that time period, it illuminates the extraordinary kow- towing that was necessary in order for even an elevated Chinese official such as the Panchen Lama to speak to Chairman Mao at that time.
    Apparently, Mao was not interested in listening to the day-to-day problems of the ‘serfs’ he ‘liberated’. The Panchen Lama was sent to prison for suggesting that people in Tibet were starving; the average Tibetan peasant who offered the same criticism to his local Chinese
    official did not fare nearly as well.

    In his article Parenti again quotes Tom Grunfeld
    – whose idealism of the cultural revolution should
    automatically remove him from use as an unbiased source of historical data on the Chinese occupation of Tibet – and asserts that ‘slavery and unpaid labor disappeared under Mao’. This
    sentence simply has no place in any legitimate historical writing. Perhaps Parenti would like to sit down and have a chat with the relatives of the thousands of Tibetans who were worked to death by Chinese soldiers at the infamous Borax mine in Changthang. I’ve met them myself, and they are far more deserving of a platform on
    Tibetan history and cultural issues than Parenti.

    Mao’s forced sedentarization of Tibetan nomads was certainly not a liberation; nor was the government-enforced switch to growing foreign cereal crops which resulted in widespread famine
    in many regions of Tibet.
    But again, the true testament to the fact that
    Tibetans have been far from content under Chinese rule lie in the actions of the people
    themselves. Ever since the Chinese invasion and
    occupation there has been substantial popular resistance to Chinese rule in Tibet. This resistance has taken many forms over the years – leafleting, public demonstration, mass non-
    cooperation, economic boycott, and armed uprising are all forms of protest have been practiced by Tibetans inside Tibet, at the risk of
    their own lives.

    The Chinese government has faced phenomenal opposition from the Tibetan people, certainly far more opposition than the Lhasa government ever faced from its own population, which does not do
    much to further the argument that ‘old Tibet’ was
    a terribly repressive society. Nor does the fact that Tibetan refugees continue pour out of Tibet at a rate never seen prior to 1959. In a classic case of uninformed conjecture, Parenti supposes
    that Tibetan refugees never left prior to 1959 because the ‘systems of control’ were so deep and that Tibetans were ‘afraid of amputation’. Any
    quick glance at a map of Tibet, with its vast, unpatrolable borders, or any basic knowledge of the structure of Tibetan society would quickly reveal that Tibetans – should they have wanted to escape their ‘feudal masters’ – would have had little problem doing so.

    But perhaps there is no more telling testament to the Tibetan people’s sentiment towards their own culture than the fact that in the early 1980’s- when the Chinese government finally relaxed some of its draconian policies towards Tibet- the first thing Tibetans set about doing is rebuilding and
    repopulating monasteries – the very symbols of ‘old Tibet.’ The next thing they did was take to the streets and protest for freedom and for the Dalai Lama’s return. This is not the behavior of a people who are trying to cast off their old ways.
    It sounds more like a people who are trying to get their culture back.

    This brings up again the essential flaw in Parenti’s reasoning-it is not based on the experience of Tibetans. The actuality is that there is now and always has been a people’s movement of Tibetans- in fact the vast majority of Tibetans both inside and outside Tibet- who
    overwhelmingly support the Dalai Lama and more specifically are in favor of Tibetan statehood.
    This movement cannot simply be dismissed as incidental, or foreign-backed, or primarily
    aristocratic in nature. The argument that the Tibetan resistance is driven by aristocrats is fairly essential for Parenti et al because without it they would be forced to recognize the
    existence of this movement-and the existence of such a movement would suggest that perhaps the Tibetan people themselves are more enamored of the Dalai Lama than they ever were of Mao.
    The Tibetan resistance, both historically and currently, has been made up of Tibetans from across the social spectrum. The Khampa fighters in the late 50s and early 60s were certainly not
    aristocrats, nor was Thrinley Chodron, a nun who led a bloody resistance battle against Chinese forces in 1969. The Tibetans who took to the streets and were gunned down in the late 80s
    were not former aristocrats. Nor are the hundreds of Tibetans currently languishing in Drapchi prison for expressing their desire for statehood.

    Currently, there are over 150,000 Tibetans living in exile around the world. There are nomads-in- exile, farmers-in-exile, truck drivers-in-exile.
    To characterize this entire group as aristocrats or former aristocrats is ludicrous. In New York
    City alone, there are nearly 5,000 Tibetan refugees. I’m quite certain that Ngawang
    Rabgyal at the Office of Tibet, who is charged with helping this refugee community find jobs in
    the outer reaches of Queens, would raise an eyebrow at the description of Tibetan refugees as ‘aristocrats.’

    The notion that the Tibetan community in exile longs to return to a ‘Shangri-la’ and re-establish their aristocracy is a banal and uninformed
    argument that has nothing to do with the real and stated aspirations of the Tibetan freedom movement. First of all, Tibetans never called
    their country Shangri-La; it was an outsider, James Hilton, who first did that. They never saw their country as a paradise and the Tibetan
    community is certainly not seeking to reestablish the same political system that existed in pre-1959 Tibet (nor would it be possible). The
    Dalai Lama has all but abdicated his position as
    future leader of Tibet – despite the fact that 98% of Tibetans both in and outside Tibet would elect him in a heartbeat – saying that he would rather attend to his religious duties than be a
    political leader. The Tibetan Kashag is now made up of democratically elected officials and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile –- which, whether Parenti cares to acknowledge their existence or not, is a legitimate entity charged with the welfare of 150,000 refugees – has already
    outlined a democratic structure for the future
    government of Tibet.

    The movement for Tibetan statehood permeates all segments of Tibetan society. Nomads in western Tibet, herders in Changtang, farmers in Amdo, merchants in Lhasa– the vast majority of Tibetans are vocal – as much as they can be –about their nationalist aspirations. Anyone who has spent time around Tibetans inside or outside Tibet knows this as fact. This fact does not have
    to be footnoted; it is experiential history.

    By way of personal testimony, before I ever became involved in the Tibetan political struggle I went to Tibet myself. I was there during a
    period of martial law and at certain sensitive locations I had to be escorted by Chinese guides, who made a half-hearted attempt to show me the ‘feudal torture chambers’ of old Tibet and a statue of a liberated serf ‘breaking the chains of bondage’; the guides barely seemed to believe it
    themselves. But even they could not produce Tibetan citizens who would rail against the Dalai Lama or speak of how they had ‘cast off the bonds of feudalism’. I know of no traveler to Tibet who has heard this type of testimony. There are
    Tibetans in government positions in Lhasa who will give you this line; and there are probably some Tibetans in Tibet who believe it. But again, for the vast majority of Tibetans, this is simply
    not part of the their experience. Get any Tibetan
    nomad, farmer, peasant, or monk a few hundred yards away from their local party cadre and the first thing they’ll do is ask for a picture of the Dalai Lama; the second thing they’ll do is ask you
    to help them free their country.

    And there’s the core of the matter: ‘old Tibet’, the Tibet that existed pre-1959, simply does not represent to the average Tibetan what it does to Michael Parenti, Tom Grunfeld, and Anna Louise
    Strong. Scholars like Parenti and Grunfeld and Strong, with limited source material and no firsthand experience, see old Tibet as a horrible
    place; but the bottom line is they’re not Tibetan.
    And if Tibetans themselves don’t see their past as a past of feudal lords and merciless repression, then do they really need scholars like Parenti to tell them what their past is all about?
    Saying debasing things about a culture is certainly not extraordinarily difficult; seen
    through the lens that Parenti and Grunfeld apply
    to Tibet, most if not all societies would come up short, as would many resistance movements. The
    real story then, is not what these historians have to say, but why they have chosen to say it in the way they say it.
    Many Tibetans do welcome commentary and criticism on aspects of their society; I have certainly been privy to many heated arguments
    on old Tibet and on the future direction of Tibetan politics. But that is because I have taken the time to really get to know Tibetan society.

    Perhaps what is most striking about the history that Parenti and Grunfeld and Strong present is the tone with which they speak of Tibetan culture, without ever having experienced it. The
    facts they deliver are clearly not being presented in order to help Tibetan people. They are fairly serious charges, and as objective as the authors pretend to be, these charges are delivered with

    Oddly, Parenti – like Grunfeld – seems taken aback at the emotional response that his writing has evoked among Tibetans and their supporters. It would seem fairly obvious to anyone with any common sense that dismissing an entire culture –
    particularly one in dire peril -and making statements that run completely contrary to
    everything the vast majority of its people know from firsthand experience would illicit an emotional response. Perhaps these scholars are
    surprised because they have forgotten that words carry weight, and that their actions actually have tangible results in the real world. In the Tibet movement, the results have been clearly measurable – Tibetan activists, who should be focused on returning basic rights to a people whose lack of freedoms is documented by every major human rights organization in the world,
    instead find themselves in the position of having to defend the actions of a bygone society. Former torture victims are accosted by nineteen year old American college students who have never been to Tibet, never met a Tibetan, and surely never had anyone in their family tortured with electric
    cattle prods. This, for a people who are in a very real struggle for rights, is not only extremely upsetting, it serves to forward the agenda of their oppressor.

    It is no secret that the Chinese government views propaganda as a key weapon in its efforts to undermine the movement for Tibetan rights and statehood. Chinese state run media – whose use of manufactured and manipulated history is indisputable – regularly debases and assails Tibetan culture and specifically the Dalai Lama, who is dismissed with regularity – and relish. The Tibetan refugee population is treated with equal disdain, the Tibetan government-in-exile, which,
    again serves the very real function of looking after the welfare of 150,000 refugees and lobbying international institutions for rights and
    recognition, is dismissed entirely. Luckily for Tibetans, Beijing’s Orwellian rants about Tibet – labeling the Dalai Lama a “serpent” and “the chief villain” – have bordered on the hilarious. That is, until recently. Now the war of words has spilled
    over into more legitimate circles.

    Recognizing that Tibetans and the Tibetan struggle are generally well-perceived in the west, and seeking to win the war of perception, Beijing’s propaganda strategy has now grown, with regular meetings on external and internal Tibet-related propaganda. One key element of the new propaganda strategy is to make greater
    use of Tibet scholars, both Chinese and Western.
    In 2001 a leaked Chinese Government memo from the Chinese Communist Party’s Ninth Meeting on Tibet-Related External Propaganda stated “Effective use of Tibetologists and specialists is
    the core of our external propaganda struggle for public opinion on Tibet…”
    With this as the political backdrop, levying ill-
    researched and unsubstantiated charges at
    Tibetan culture – in fact the very charges often employed by their Chinese occupiers to
    delegitimize their entire society – is a dangerous game indeed. It is one thing to offer criticisms of a culture or religion that is not fighting for its very survival. It is quite another to rewrite
    the history of a people who are already the victims of a propaganda war at the hands of one of the largest propaganda machines in the world.

    What surprises me most about the far left’s flawed take on Tibet is how quickly a piece of
    propaganda turns into ‘scholarship,’ how a piece
    of hearsay becomes fact if given a footnote. Mao said ‘a lie told a hundred times becomes the truth.’ Sadly, in the case of the new Tibet
    ‘scholarship’, a lie footnoted once has already become truth. A pool of bad information now exists, ready for any scholar with an agenda to draw from and appear legitimate. Few will bother to look beneath the surface, at the highly
    questionable source of this information-colonists,
    oppressors, and outsiders, writing a history that they have no place writing. And what gets lost in the mix, as always, is the voice of the Tibetan people themselves.

    There is one statement in Parenti’s thesis that summarizes how completely disconnected he is from any kind of Tibetan reality. In his thesis, he states that old Tibet was a society that was
    ‘damaging to the human spirit.’ Any person who has spent any time with the Tibetan people would laugh at the irony. Being with Tibetans of all walks of life, inside and outside of Tibet, one is always struck by the incredible, contagious spirit of Tibetan culture. From the Khampa drinking songs to the picnics that are the preferred activity of all Tibetans, Tibetan society is known for its passion and exuberance. This spirit is something that grows directly from the culture that Parenti is so intent on debasing. This spirit is what the Chinese government has tried so desperately to crush – making the singing of freedom songs illegal and prohibiting traditional Tibetan festivals. The struggle against totalitarianism is precisely a struggle for spirit, and I’m willing to wager that a populist like Mr. Parenti would find far more joy drinking chang and singing songs with a party of exiled Tibetans than he ever would at a Chinese cadre meeting; sadly, he won’t ever get to find out. He’s chosen his bedfellows, and more power to him. In the end it is the Tibetan people who will be the arbiters of their own fate. By the time that fate is decided Parenti will be long gone, onto some other issue, and Tibetans will be no worse off because of it.

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