Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Nobel Shame [Again]...

Thank God, and Buddha - and whatever other names we give to that universal force for love, justice and peace - for the Nobel Peace Prize!

Once again they have managed, despite huge international pressure, to awaken the world to what is going on in China.

This week marks two very important milestones in the long history between the Nobel Prize and the world-wide longing for peace and truth in China:

19 out of 58 countries invited have refused to send representation to the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo. Of course this year's prize-winner cannot be present himself.
He is currently languishing in a Chinese prison for the crime of campaigning for a multi-party democratic system in China. He was also a key figure in the student revolt that was eventually crushed at Tienanmen Square.
Shame on those countries who are de facto siding with China by boycotting the ceremony. These countries are: Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, Ukraine, Cuba and Morocco [and of course China itself].
One doesn't have to be wise [or even intelligent] to see what is really going on here; trade, import-export agreements, greed, money, arms, aligning in case of future war... the list is endless but completely transparent. Not much has changed in the relationship between the nations of the world and China it seems. Shame, shame, shame!!

The second milestone this week is that we are celebrating the 21st Anniversary of HH Dalai Lama being awarded his Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
That particular occasion also caused considerable division and upset internationally. But at least there was a growing awareness of the plight of Tibet at that time.
Not so much nowadays, unfortunately.
Since the anti-China Olympic protests and exposés have come and gone - with little or no real negative impact on China's carry on, it has to be said - there has been a virtual news blackout on Tibet.

However, anyone with connections to Tibetan Buddhism, Amnesty International, or the Free Tibet Campaign may be aware of some of what is going on inside Tibet. But most people have no idea. It is time for us to take responsibility for our own understanding of the situation.
Searching the internet easily reveals official news updates, 'insider' reports, and all the myriad of opinion that will never make it to the 6 O'Clock evening news. The problem for a mainstream news agency is completely understandable given the current news blackout in Tibet. If journalists can't get much verifiable information out of Tibet, then what can they really report? But we must remember that there are many other ways to get information about Tibet. And there are many many more ways we can help.

However, it is true to say that things have steadily become worse and worse for Tibet since the 1950s invasion by China. This means - by definition - the situation in Tibet today is worse than EVER! And all this is still going largely unreported.

Tibetans are now far out-numbered by Hanh Chinese who have been rewarded for relocating to the region.
Tibetan Buddhism has been largely wiped out. It exists in exile mainly.
Tibetan culture is seen even by the new generation of Tibetans themselves as uncool, old-fashioned, outmoded, dead and gone.
The Tibetan language is practically outlawed. It has been superceded by Chinese as the language of the ordinary people but there are even some crazy stories of photocopy shops and printers being directed by law NOT to allow the printing of documents in the Tibetan language. The fear is that they may be anti-Chinese pamphlets or flyers inciting revolt. And since so few people understand Tibetan these days the person who is doing the printing may not realise what they facilitating.
Community leaders, monks, nuns, spiritual teachers, artists, poets and musicians are routinely rounded up, imprisoned and tortured in the much feared goulag-style Chinese prisons. These prisons are often part-staffed and run by Tibetans.
Local Chinese officials in cities, towns and villages are often Tibetan too.

The darker side of how the Chinese continue to alter the state of affairs in Tibet at such an accelerated rate is very dark indeed. The tip of the sinister iceberg may be glimpsed when we look at the case of Tibetan women.
News gathering Tibetans in Dharamsala, Northern India, regularly receive SMS text messages from inside Tibet claiming that forced sterilisation of women and aborting of phoetuses are routine and common place ... This brutal form of punishment and population control is even reported as regularly happening without anaesthetic !
'Ah but this is only 'hearsay' and may in fact be anti-Chinese propaganda', we are told. Worse still, is the awful truth that there isn't a news gathering agency in the world that could report it as the sources are anonymous and their stories are unsubstantiated.

In many ways the battle to Free Tibet has been lost.
The Tibetan culture and spiritual tradition has been suffocated inside Tibet and mainly exists in exile now. What we are most concerned with inside Tibet these days is the flagrant violation of human rights by the Chinese. In fact, these violations are widespread throughout 'mainland' China too. But they are particularly aggressive in areas of non-Hanh ethnicity.
First it happened in Manchurea.
Then Mongolia.
And now Tibet is all but gone too.

Decade after decade, century after century, China does whatever it wants.
And the world observes or ignores, but does nothing either way.