Monday, June 28, 2010

The Cultural Genocide of Tibet by China

The British occupied and colonised Ireland for hundreds of years.
And the process by which they achieved this had already been well tried and tested elsewhere by all the ancient civilisations such as Persia, Israel, China, Greece and Rome.
Whatever the reasons behind such occupations - annexing of lands, natural resources, and creating geographically strategic buffer-zones and corridors - there are always strong, common themes.

Take the occupation of Ireland by Britain and that of Tibet by China for example.

The neighbouring super-power expands and annexes the relatively smaller sovereign state primarily in order to own more land and subjugate its people.
Next comes the systematic assimilation of the people by outlawing land ownership by locals, followed by outlawing their native religion, language, culture and customs.
If the rate of change is not fast enough, the occupying force brutally puts down any semblance of resistance while at the same time 'planting' the entire region.

In this context, to 'plant' a foreign country means that the occupiers handsomely reward those individuals from their own country who are willing to move permanently to the newly annexed state. These occupying 'planters' are encouraged to relocate to the new land by the lure of large grants of land and money from their own government.
In the case of Ireland being planted by Britain the process took several hundred years to complete. Sadly, such is the venomous zeal of the Chinese in the case of poor Tibet, the process has achieved almost total success in only 50 years!
Today in Tibet, the majority of the population is said to be Han Chinese.

The rest of the wicked process has now achieved almost total success and entirely heralds the immanent demise of Tibet.

Tibetan Buddhism - as is now sadly common knowledge - exists mainly in exile, in the Indian Himalaya and in the West.

The Tibetan language has all but become a thing of the past inside Tibet. All Tibetans now seem to speak Chinese, even in remote areas.

Recently I was bemused and aghast to read how the Chinese are now clamping down on the printing and even photocopying of pages containing the Tibetan language - presumably for fear of what it might mean. The oppressors are so ignorant of the culture they are snuffing out that they do not even recognise whether a Tibetan document is an incitement to rise up against the Han or a recipe for spicy momos!
You can read this extraordinary article HERE

This brings me to most recent developments in Tibet's final hours.

Only a couple of weeks ago, a famous Tibetan Nature Conservationist [Karma Samdrup] was imprisoned for 15 years in a hellish Chinese gulag.

The charges against him were a complete and utter invention designed simply to remove him from the equation and get him out of the way.

Tragically, however, this isn't the first time this has happened and it won't be the last. Sure isn't that the oldest trick in the book?!

More recently still, a leading singer [Tashi Dhondup] was sentenced to 15 months hard labour for singing about China's inhumanity against Tibet.
And this has lead to an unexpected purge of anyone and everyone from Tibet prepared to speak out against Chinese policy in Tibet.
Granted, among them there are some agitators who blatantly call for China to get out of Tibet and attempt to tell the truth of the Tibetan holocaust from within it.
But the Chinese have actually, this very week, taken to storming by night into the homes of Tibet's poets, artists, writers, musicians and singers. All stand accused of 'treason' against China and many will 'disappear', never to be seen again.
Please click HERE to read the latest news.

When this kind of cultural genocide actually takes place in full view of the rest of the 'civilised' world - and goes largely unchallenged or unnoticed - you know that time is well and truly up for Tibet.
Since the 1950s when China first began the occupation of Tibet we have shamefully watched from the sidelines with horror [but mostly inertia, it has to be said] and witnessed the whole thing unfold.

One Western journalist has shockingly reported that this week's Final Solution style round-up of Tibet's poets and singers was actually organised not by Chinese officials but by local Tibetan officials working as Chinese representatives. They appear to have had enough talk of Tibetan Liberation and are now silencing it for once and for all!
When this happens to a culture - oppression from within the local population itself - you can be completely certain that China's ultimate plan has succeeded and all is definitively finished. One calls to mind the 'Capos' in the Nazi death-camps - tragic local people or even prisoners who became prison officers and therefore instruments of evil themselves in order to have a better life, such as it was.

Please remember Tibet and support its people with love and compassion.
Contact them if they are to be found living in exile near where you live.

And, rather than harbour hatred against their oppressors, generate understanding and forgiveness towards them.

But, at the same time, never give up hope completely.

What China is cobbling together now by force must eventually fall apart one day.
That's not just Buddhism, it is the law of the universe.
Many many Tibetans - and their supporters - still believe it is not too late for Tibet.
They believe that Tibet may yet attain freedom from China either by political or revolutionary means.

When I look again at the case of my own country, I am reminded that Ireland only achieved independence and sovereignty after hundreds of years of political and armed struggle against the British. But even then, we did not manage to liberate the northern part of our country at all. I am not convinced that violence actually created a better future for the ordinary people.

As a Buddhist however, and therefore convinced that only bad consequences could ever come from negative actions, I am mindful that violent revolution is not the ultimate, long-term solution to anything.
However, there are those in Tibet who do believe that it is their secular right as a people to rise up and defend themselves until China withdraws.
And who are we to criticise them for wanting to rebel, especially when that is precisely the reason we are sitting at our computers right now - 'free' men and women [whatever that means], for the most part, as a direct result of one war or another?