Thursday, October 11, 2007

China Tries to Discredit the Dalai Lama

This is kind of weird, but not unexpected from a government that fears the influence the Dalai Lama has among the Tibetan people.

Here is a bit of an "article" -- more a propaganda piece -- in The People's Daily:

~ From On the 14th Dalai Lama's betrayal of Buddhism

Firstly, let's look at how he betrayed the precept of no killing. In the late 1950s, Tibetan reactionary leaders launched an armed rebellion in an attempt to permanently maintain the feudal serfdom and their autocratic rule. The 14th Dalai Lama was the chief representative of the feudal serfdom. The armed rebels set houses on fire, looted Tibetan people and raped women. What happened then still lingers in Tibetan people's minds today. In the late 1980s, the Dalai Lama clique stirred up unrest in Lhasa, which seriously harmed people's lives and damaged their property. Moreover, who was behind the mid 1970s assassination of Gung-thangTshul-khrims, one of the leaders of the Group 13, who failed to obey Dalai's orders? Who nodded to plot and implement the assassination of Li-thang A-thar? Who, in the late 1990s, sent killers to the home of Rin-po-che Kun-bde-gling and seriously wounded him? Who threatened to exterminate the "life and activities" of two young Rin-po-ches, Chi-jang and Sun-po? Vjigs-med Tshe-ring, who once was one of the key members of the Dalai Lama clique, said that at least ten Tibetans, who disagreed with the Dalai Lama, had been assassinated.

Secondly, let's have a look at how the 14th Dalai Lama violated the precept of no lying. The Dalai Lama sent a telegram in 1951 after the signing of the agreement on the peaceful liberation of Tibet, in which he said that the agreement, signed on May 23, 1951,was based on friendship and thus won unanimous support from the local government of Tibet, Tibetan monks and the people. But on March 10, 1961, the 14th Dalai Lama said in a speech that the agreement was written fully in the will of the "Red Han" and was signed by his representative, who was put under house arrest. In 1953, the 14th Dalai Lama wrote an article, saying that Tibetans were one of the ethnic communities in China, which enjoyed long and rich history and Tibetan people enjoyed freedom and equality as all the other ethnic groups did in China after they returned to the great family of the motherland. But on March 10, 1960, he said in another speech that Tibet has been "a completely independent country" with its own political system and government ever since the Tibetan people created their own written language.

I find this interesting in so many ways.

Besides the blatant revisionist point-of-view, it's curious to me that something like this would appear so close to the Beijing Olympics. Rather than stirring up controversy, you'd think China might want to smooth things out a bit so as to put their best face forward.

Then there's the Buddhist-led unrest in Burma. As far as China seems to be concerned, all Buddhists follow the Dalai Lama, not just Tibetan Buddhists. It seems that by discrediting the Buddhist leader, they might hope to discredit Buddhism in general.

Mostly, though, I think this is aimed at the Tibetan people, or at least what is left of them. Here is a bit from the end of the article:

In August, he said in public that the "upcoming changes in 1995 or 1996" would benefit his group. As a matter of fact, Tibet did witness "great changes" in 1995. During that year, Tibetan people celebrated the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region, and most of the 62 key construction projects in Tibet financially supported by the whole nation were completed. Also in 1995, the divine reincarnation of Panchen Lama was successfully completed. The development of Tibet played a joke with the "magic power" of the 14th Dalai Lama, which, perhaps, is the judgment on Dalai Lama for his betrayal of the precept of no lying.'

Did the Tibetan people really celebrate thirty years of brutal Chinese rule? Did the Tibetan people really believe that the Chinese government's installation of a fake Panchen Lama -- after having imprisoned (or killed?) the real one -- was legitimate?

It's amusing, sort of, and also sad that China still believes it can convince Tibetans not to follow their spiritual leader.