Back to Tibet, for a Minute

It’ll be refreshing to get away from SARS, if only for a moment.

More than any other topic I’ve posted about, my recent posts on Tibet generated the most reader response, some of it very passionate. I know I will lose a couple of friends, but after doing my own research I have to conclude:

1. Pre-“liberation” Tibet was nothing at all like the Paradise that many Westerners (like me) have been led to believe. It was a theocratic serfdom of vast inequalities and, for those on the bottom, near-slave-like conditions. China seized on this as justification for its takeover in 1950.

2. That said, I have to conclude it was more an invasion than a liberation. The Chinese sincerely believe the Tibetans should be grateful to them for paving Tibet’s roads and making it a tourist attraction, and I can understand this viewpoint. But many Tibetans feel they can never forgive the destruction/desecration of their monasteries, not to mention their cultural heritage. If indeed it was a liberation for which the Tibetans are grateful, there would be no need for China today to maintain its heavy-handed military and police presence there.

There are a lot of grey areas here, and I’ve learned a lot trying to figure it all out. Some of the Chinese who wrote to me about the Dalai Lama have a good point about how he has been popularized by the US media, with an entire cottage industry growing up around the “Free Tibet” movement. So I no longer see him so much as the saintly, loving victim of China’s evil. But I do believe his gripe with China’s takeover has enough validity to put me closer to his side than to that of the invaders.

The most impassioned response I got was from a Xiangangren, who got apopleptic after I posted the point of view of a native Chinese reader:

Why don’t we hear what true Tibetan have to say about all this instead of tuning in to what we want to hear and what they want us to believe? However, under the present regime, can the ordinary Tibetan speak freely of their plight? Haven’t enough Tibetans been killed and permanently muffled to justify that fear?

Dalai Lama or not, the CCP cannot tolerate any religion because they are the biggest and most evil cult existed in human history. They want the people to idol worship them as gods. How can they allow other religions to contest their authority and untouchable position? And, like god, they can determine whether you live or die (and the way how you die).

He’s got a point. Okay, back to SARS….

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