Feb 26

minipost-Tibetan Losar 2009

Written by: Allen | Filed under:-mini-posts, culture, politics | Tags:,
281 Comments » newest 2009-08-30 12:29:03

Well – the New York Times just pronounced that first day of Losar 2009 is a Day of Mourning in Tibet.

Here is another version of Losar 2009 from the People’s Daily. Continue reading »

Feb 14

Translation: Back to Lhasa (Part II)

Written by: Allen | Filed under:culture, education, religion | Tags:,
151 Comments » newest 2009-03-01 06:40:45

[Editor’s note: Previously we have translated Back to Lhasa (Part I) . The following are translations by Allen of journal entries 回到拉萨之六七八 Back to Lhasa (chapters 6-8)– originally posted on Jan 25, 2009]

Return to Lhasa (6): Drinking with the sky burial masters

North of Lhasa, in the Nyangri mountains, is a famed temple named “Pabongka.” Located on a turtle shaped stone, the temple surprisingly receives few outside tourists these days. According to legend, Songtsen Gampo and Princess Wen Cheng once lived there. The temple is also the birthplace of the Tibetan language. Stored in the temple are the earliest stone tablets of carved Tibetan alphabets known. Although the temple is small, it occupies a special place in Tibetan hearts for its historical importance both in the context of Tibetan language as well as Tibetan Buddhism. Continue reading »

Feb 11

Translation: Back to Lhasa (Part I)

Written by: Allen | Filed under:culture, education, religion | Tags:,
19 Comments » newest 2009-02-16 08:42:08

[Editor’s note: The following are translations by Charles Liu (Introduction and Chapters 1-4) and Allen (Chapter 5 and overall editing)  of journal entries  Back to Lhasa (回到拉萨 (未完待续,超长慎入)) – Part I (chapter 1-5) posted on Jan 18, 2009.]


The author of this journal, Zhen Fu, then a college student, traveled alone to Tibet for the first time in 2003. It would be a life-changing experience. Not only did she fulfill her life-time dream of traveling to the mysterious land that is Tibet: to see its majestic beauty, to meet its remarkable people and to witness their remarkable culture, but Zhen also met her future husband, Mingji Mao, during her journey. Together they would write a book “Diaries from Tibet” based on their true love story. They made a promise to return to Tibet together.  Five years later, Zhen and Mingji fulfilled this promise. This article is about what they saw on their return to Lhasa at the end of 2008.

Continue reading »

Jan 24

On January 19, 2009, Tibetan legislators endorsed unanimously a bill designating March 28 as Serfs Emancipation Day, a day designated officially to mark the freeing of 1 million serfs from serfdom 50 years ago.

For many ethnic Tibetans, this day represents a celebration of freedom (from cast and class based oppression), economic empowerment, and social and political liberation that has been a long time coming.  The day has been held hostage for so long partly because the government, in hopes of trying to convince the Dalai Lama to return back to China, had not wanted to mark the occasion while the Dalai Lama was still in exile.  But one cannot hold back a celebration of freedom forever, and fifty years has been a long time… Continue reading »

Jan 20

Too often when we discuss Tibet, we reflexively focus our attention on the political spat between the CCP and the Dalai Lama.  However, Tibet is much more than the current political spat.

For one thing: there is the people; the indigenous culture; the land – and of course the important environmental role the Tibetan Plateau plays in regional as well as global environment.

The following is a video from Asia Society on the Peril the Tibetan Plateau is under – as well its implication for all of us in light of global climate change. Continue reading »

Jan 04

In a recent letter, I wondered aloud if it might be possible for the Dalai Lama to retire from politics and return to Tibet as a private, nonpolitical citizen. Is it possible that the goodwill created by such a move could prove more productive in the long-run than political negotiations would?

I got to thinking about some of the details that would need to be settled in order for this to be possible. I came up with eight specific points, although the eighth is a bit of an epilogue and would not be implemented until the government decides things are going well. Continue reading »

Dec 25

minipost-Dalai Lama to retire from politics?

Written by: Otto Kerner | Filed under:-guest-posts, -mini-posts | Tags:, ,
75 Comments » newest 2009-12-03 00:25:45

In recent statements (http://blog.beliefnet.com/news/2008/12/dalai-lama-talks-of-complete-r.php), the Dalai Lama has strongly implied that he might retire from politics completely. I’m not sure how seriously to take this sort of talk—I tend to think it’s more likely that he’s sort of testing the waters.

However, if it turns out that he really does retire from politics, I wonder if that might not end up being better for the Tibetan movement in the long run. I think that the fundamental problem with the negotiations between Beijing and the Dalai Lama so far is that they are not interested in negotiating on the same subject. The Dalai Lama wants to negotiate on behalf of the Tibetan people for political reforms in Tibet. The government in Beijing has never said they wanted to talk about that; instead, they have said they will negotiate about the Dalai Lama’s personal status. If the Dalai Lama gives up his political role and leaves it to the exile prime minister to have political negotiations, then maybe it will become possible for him to start negotiations with Beijing regarding his personal status. That is, he might actually be able to return to Tibet as an individual. By doing so, he might be able to create a degree of trust and goodwill which would eventually make political reforms possible.

The tricky part that remains, though, is that the Dalai Lama can give up his political role, but I don’t think he can retire from his religious role. In order to return, he would probably need some kind of reliable assurances that there would be reduced political interference in Tibetan religion. Most importantly, how could he return to Tibet if he thought the CCP would still control the selection and education of the next Dalai Lama?

Nov 22

Chen Daojun (陈道军), a relatively obscure activist (or provocateur depending on one’s point of view) in China, was sentenced to three years in prison for “inciting subversion of state authority” (煽动颠覆国家政权罪) yesterday. Thus the Chinese government, quite rightfully described as clumsy and self-defeating in presenting itself, just launched someone into a career of fame and awards. Who wants to bet on the recipient of next year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought?

Continue reading »

Sep 14

An assessment of thirty years of dialogue by Skylight.

For thirty years, Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in Exile has approached the Chinese leadership to resolve the Tibet issue. Since the resumption of dialogue in 2002, there has been seven rounds of meeting and confidence building exercises between Dalai Lama’s envoys and the United Front Work Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. Continue reading »

Sep 05

minipost-Pocketbook References for Tibet

Written by: Allen | Filed under:-mini-posts, Analysis, culture, Letters, politics, religion | Tags:, ,
187 Comments » newest 2016-02-16 02:57:39

Two of the most commented threads over the last week relate to Tibet.  Even a neutral posting on the administration of the website has also somehow “devolved” into a debate over Tibet.

Continue reading »

Sep 01

(Letter) Tibet: A Way Forward?

Written by: Otto Kerner | Filed under:Analysis, Letters | Tags:, , ,
323 Comments » newest 2016-02-16 03:16:35

In the comments to an earlier post related to Tibet, I found it striking that, although by different routes, bianxiangbianqiao and wuming and I have reached roughly the same conclusion, viz that there’s no logical reason why Tibet should remain part of China, but, at the same time, it is completely impossible for China to let it become independent, since that would invariably be seen as China giving up 19% of its land area (or even 13%, which is what the TAR is). Particularly so since, as bxbq points out, the boundaries of “Tibet” are quite fuzzy. I could draw a border that I think would be a fair delimitation of “where Tibetans traditionally predominated and still do”, but obviously there would be a lot of people who would disagree with any given attempt. Continue reading »

Aug 17

(Letter) The religious politics of reincarnation

Written by: Otto Kerner | Filed under:Analysis, culture | Tags:, ,
80 Comments » newest 2008-08-23 07:30:14

Some of the comments to a recent post show what I believe are misconceptions about the religious politics of the Dalai Lama’s putative reincarnations. One commenter writes:

Since the next reincarnation of Dalai Lama supposed to be “discovered” by the current Penchan Lama, how can a democratically reincarnated Dalai Lama have any religious legitimacy?

Continue reading »

Aug 16

minipost-Dalai Lama offers olive branch. Is he going to visit China this November?

Written by: bianxiangbianqiao | Filed under:-mini-posts | Tags:,
127 Comments » newest 2008-09-03 17:59:49

According to New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, Dalai Lama no longer insists on the “meaningful autonomy” of Tibet in the one-country-two-systems model. He will accept communist rule in Tibet. According to Kristof it is imperative for the Chinese authorities to reciprocate. He suggests a possibility for Dalai to visit China in November, for the commemoration of the 6th month of the Sichuan Earthquake. Continue reading »

Aug 06

(Letter) Handling Olympic protests in Beijing – a ‘test case’?

Written by: es.nautilus | Filed under:Analysis, News | Tags:, , ,
38 Comments » newest 2013-06-06 12:29:59

Four members of the activist group, Students for a Free Tibet, have staged a lamppost protest in Beijing, unfurling a banner that read, ‘One World, One Dream – Free Tibet’, as the Olympic torch relay entered its final stage in the host city on Wednesday 6 August. All four – two British and two American nationals, holding tourist visas – have been arrested and are currently in police custody. In their interviews with the BBC, parents of the two British protesters spoke of their pride and explained that they were otherwise not unduly concerned about their children’s safety. They added that following the arrests the British students had made direct contact with their respective families, confirming that they had been treated well in custody. It is believed that they will now be entered into the deportation process within the coming days, whilst human rights campaign groups, including Students for a Free Tibet, have claimed further protests will follow in the weeks ahead. Continue reading »

Jul 24

(Letter) Tibet officials issued with Dalai school ultimatum

Written by: guest | Filed under:education, News | Tags:, ,
49 Comments » newest 2008-09-19 23:59:02

Here is a piece of news on CD.

Party members and public servants working in the Tibet autonomous region were given an ultimatum on July 14 to call back their children within two months from overseas schools and monasteries run by the “Dalai clique”, the International Herald Leader (IHL), owned by the Xinhua News Agency, said Wednesday.

Under a regulation drawn up by the regional Party and government disciplinary inspection commissions, which was released last week, those who fail to do so will be expelled from the Party and removed from their posts, the IHL report said.

Continue reading »

Jul 21

minipost-A meaningful exchange on Tibet

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:-mini-posts, Letters | Tags:,
49 Comments » newest 2008-08-23 19:21:53

On one of our earlier threads on the misnamed Dalai Lama, there is an excellent on-going exchange of thoughts and positions from two of our posters: one is a Tibetan in exile, the other is Chinese in China.

Continue reading »

Jun 26

The misnamed Dalai Lama

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:culture | Tags:, ,
91 Comments » newest 2008-07-21 17:52:47

What should we call the Dalai Lama? It might seem like a silly enough question… but if you look deeper, there lies a more substantial issue of basic respect and mutual understanding. On Davidpeng’s blog (in an article linking to one of our entries)… an interesting discussion has developed (原贴) on that exact topic.

One commenter (Flatfish, a frequent Tibetan visitor) reacted to part of the original discussion when the term “the Dalai” was used:

In reference to the proper name for the Dalai Lama, let me talk about a few related things that have touched me deeply.

After the end of the Second World War, a court sentenced Mr. Hideki Tojo to death by hanging. Mr. Tojo immediately stood, and with perfect manners bowed deeply to the judges; he didn’t say another word. When the Tibetan uprising (in 1959) expanded, quite a few Tibetans were executed. Before they were shot, they politely said “T’oo-Je-Che” (Tibetan term of thanks). Later, when the families of the executed were charged expenses of 200-500 RMB, they again said “T’oo-Je-Che”, and nothing else.

For the Dalai Lama, the respectful way of referring to him in English is: His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In Tibetan, the respectful way of referring to him is Jiawa Renbuqie (嘉瓦仁布切,Gyalwa Rinpoche), Kundun (昆顿), or Yixi Loubu (益西罗布, Yeshe Norbu). Tibetans would never use the name Dalai Lama, because that’s actually equivalent to a title, and not a name.

My point is, if any group or government investigates and finds the Dalai Lama guilty of a crime, then all of these details could be revealed to the public, and they could proceed to trial and conviction. And if anyone, including Han, have doubts or criticisms of him, that’s also not a problem. And for those who are not Buddhists and not Tibetan Buddhists don’t necessarily have to refer to him by his courtesy title. But all should respect basic human rights, and do not casually shorten the title Dalai Lama to just “the Dalai”.

Continue reading »

Jun 21

Dalai Lama tries speaking to the Chinese

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Analysis, Environment, General | Tags:,
67 Comments » newest 2013-05-15 03:12:19

If there’s one thing we’ve consistently criticized here, it’s that the Dalai Lama (and “clique”) has largely failed to reach out to the Chinese people directly. For every interview he provides to the Chinese-language press, it seems he’s done fifty for foreign language press. And even when he makes an attempt to speak to the Chinese (as with an open letter released earlier this year), his ignorance and lack of familiarity shows through.

But he is at least making an active effort to change this. He has met with individual Chinese in the United States and Germany in recent months. And in his just completed trip through Australia, he met with the Chinese-language press, and also hosted an open Q&A session targeted at overseas Chinese. (Unfortunately the session was organized with a dissident group with links to the FLG… but that’s not the point here.)

Here’s what he had to say in Australia, courtesy of the International Campaign for Tibet (原文):

Dalai Lama: … Problems related to Tibet must absolutely be resolved between the Han and Tibetan races, no one else can deal with this type of problem. And precisely because of that, the Chinese, the Han in inland China, you must understand the real situation, this is very important.

So, what is the real situation in his opinion? Read on for more.

Continue reading »

Jun 19

“Down with the Dalai Lama” – Western criticism

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Letters | Tags:,
48 Comments » newest 2016-02-15 07:23:03

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.

Continue reading »

Jun 11

Olympic torch arrives in Shangri-La

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:News | Tags:,
106 Comments » newest 2009-09-11 02:35:56

The Olympic torch has arrived in its first Tibetan Autonomous county, and will arrive in Lhasa later this month.

Reuters gives us this report of the torch’s visit to Shangri-La in Yunnan province, with responses both positive and negative from Tibetans in China:

Continue reading »

Jun 07

Briefs on Tibet: Action and Reaction

Written by: Nimrod | Filed under:Letters, News | Tags:, , , , ,
118 Comments » newest 2016-03-22 05:27:41

Just as the earthquake shook China last month, the ground has also shifted under the Tibet issue. It seems the protests and counter-protests did not go into a black hole, but are having some effects on the media. But the exiles and their supporters aren’t ready to pass up on such a good chance in this Olympic year yet. They are elevating the profile of a different lama. Between now and the Olympics, we may also see more Tibetan disturbances should the talks not “work out”, as the Dalai Lama advised/threatened. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best. Inside are a few articles in the recent news on these two cross-currents, action and reaction:
Continue reading »