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Let facts expose lies: 7 Questions for the Dalai Lama

2009/03/28

Since March this year, the 14th Dalai Lama has been active again overseas. Busy accepting interviews and attending gatherings, he's been bragging about his efforts for Tibet's human rights, democracy and freedom. He claims that the Tibetan people "are suffering in hell on earth," and that only the Tibet of the past was a "free Tibet."

The Dalai Lama's remarks disregard the truth and confuse right from wrong. They do not align with the hard facts and conflict with the emotions of all Chinese people, including Tibetans.

 

1st Question: Why does the Dalai Lama refuse to admit that Tibet historically belongs to China?

During the 50th anniversary gathering of the so-called "Tibetan people's peaceful uprising" on March 10 2009, the Dalai Lama claimed that "To admit that Tibet historically belonged to China is unreasonable and does not make any sense."

On April 22, 1956, the Dalai Lama, at the time Chairman of the Preparatory Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region, exclaimed, "From now on, the Tibetan people extricate themselves from imperialist enslavement and its fetters forever and return to the family of the motherland." Today, however, the Dalai Lama blatantly denies the fact that Tibet has been a part of China since ancient times. His words have no purpose but to make a "historical basis" and "realistic rationality" for the cause of "Tibetan independence."

According to historical materials, starting in the Yuan Dynasty, China's central authority had begun executing an incontestable and valid administrative jurisdiction over Tibet. The issue of sovereignty is a fundamental issue. The Dalai Lama's purpose in denying China's historical sovereignty in Tibetan regions is to find a juristic basis for "Tibetan independence," "semi-independence" or "independence in disguise." At present, countries around the world recognize Tibet as part of China. Not a single country believes that Tibet is an independent state, and not a single country recognizes the so-called "government-in-exile" led by the Dalai Lama. This is the official, formal and solemn attitude shared by governments around the world.

Lian Xiangmin, a research fellow at the China Tibetology Research Center (CTRC), said among the classification of world linguistics, both the Tibetan and Chinese languages belong to the same linguistic family. There are a large number of words in the Tibetan language introduced from the Chinese language during different historical periods, and Tibetan traditional medicine contains a lot of theoretical essences and practical experiences of Han Chinese medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. Confucianism and doctrines of Confucius and Mencius have also permeated into the Tibetan traditional culture, and Confucius is called the "King of Infinite Resources" in Tibet. The one-sided argument of using Tibetan ethnic features as justification for independence is preposterous. The cultural and religious features of Tibetan ethnicity never hindered it from becoming a member of the big family of the Chinese nation.

Zhang Yun, a research fellow at CTRC, said that history has proven that the so-called "Tibet issue" and "Tibetan independence" are the products of an invasion of China by imperialists and their conspiracy to split the country. During his years of exile abroad, the Dalai Lama has unceasingly fabricated all kinds of lies according to situational changes and the likings of some westerners. He even claims that Tibet was an entirely independent state when the Chinese People's Liberation Army entered, and that even now Tibet is still an independent country under illegitimate occupation. His purpose is none other than to create "historical basis" and "realistic rationality" for "Tibetan independence" by resorting to help from anti-China forces in the west.

 

2nd Question: Was it a "peaceful uprising against repression" launched by Tibetan reactionary forces in 1959?

50 years ago, on March 10, Tibet's upper-class reactionary group led by the Dalai Lama launched an armed rebellion in fear of losing their ruling status and to resist Democratic Reform. Right after the quick failure of the armed rebellion, the Dalai Lama escaped to India and established the so-called "interim government." During the March 10, 50th anniversary gathering of the so-called "Tibetan people's peaceful uprising against Communist China's repression in Tibet" the Dalai Lama beautified the armed rebellion 50 years ago and termed it a "peaceful uprising against repression."

Although the Dalai Lama has repeatedly denied it, the three letters he wrote at that time reveal the historical truth of the so-called "peaceful uprising". After armed rebellion broke out in Lhasa on March 10, 1959, the Dalai Lama wrote three letters to officials of the People's Liberation Army stationed in Tibet on March 11, 12 and 16. The letters read, "The reactionary bad elements are carrying out activities that are endangering me, they are using the excuse of protecting my safety. I am trying to suppress their actions." "The illegal activities of the reactionary group saddened me. I am now going to all lengths to cope with these events that were provoked to drive a wedge between the Central Government and the local government under the excuse of protecting my safety."

Fifty years later, however, the Dalai Lama has gone back on his words and distorted the facts, saying that these "evildoers" and "reactionary groups," which he had once firmly recognized, were forced to do that and the armed rebellion was only a "peaceful uprising against repression". This tramples on the beautiful word of peace.

Lhagpa Phuntshogs, Director-General of the CTRC, said that representatives of the rebels held a meeting on March 10, 1959, where they decided to launch the "Tibetan independence" campaign. On March 13, the headquarters of the reactionary forces gave an order in the name of the "people's congress of the independent state of Tibet" that, "in order to fight against the Communist Party and win the armed struggle for Tibetan independence, all men, from 18 to 60 years old, must rush to Lhasa without delay, carrying their own weapons, ammunition and food." On March 20, rebels launched an armed offensive against the Lhasa-based Party, government and military organs, enterprises and public institutions.

The upper-level reactionaries in Tibet began with betraying the people of Tibet and ended up being abandoned by the Tibetan people and Chinese people of all other ethnicities. The People's Liberation Army had won a total victory by putting down the rebellion in Lhasa within only two days. On March 28, the State Council issued an order which dissolved the local Tibetan government, authorized the Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region to perform the functions of the local Tibetan government, and ordered Military Area Command to thoroughly put down the rebellion. With that, the mission of putting down the rebellion was accomplished in less than two years.

The three letters written by the Dalai Lama at that time completely reveal the historical truth of the so-called "Tibetan people's peaceful uprising against Communist China's repression in Tibet." The attitude that the Dalai Lama holds today is totally different from the opinion he held about the rebellion at the time.

 

3rd Question: Did the Dalai Lama request the PLA to withdraw from Tibet and all Han Chinese to leave?

During the 50th anniversary gathering of the so-called "Tibetan people's peaceful uprising against Communist China's repression in Tibet" held on March 10, the Dalai Lama claimed, "I have never said that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) should withdraw from Tibet."

Zhou Yuan, a research fellow at CTRC, said that in the "five-point peace plan for Tibet" proposed by the Dalai Lama in 1987 in the US, he plainly wrote in black and white that "the establishment of a peace zone in Tibet would require the withdrawal of Chinese troops and military installations," "only a withdrawal of Chinese troops could start a genuine process of reconciliation," and the "withdrawal of troops is an important signal indicating that there is a possibility to establish a meaningful relationship with the Han Chinese on the basis of friendship and trust in the future." In the second point of his proposal he said, "For the Tibetans to survive as a people, it is imperative that the population transfer is stopped and Chinese settlers return to China." In the "seven-point new suggestions" the Dalai Lama made in 1988 in Strasbourg, France, he added, "a regional peace conference should be called to ensure the demilitarization of Tibet."

According to the Dalai Lama's assumptions, after Chinese troops have withdrawn, he will hold an "international peace conference" and build the "Tibetan Region" into an "international peace zone."

According to propaganda material on the "middle way" approach issued in 2005 by the Tibetan "government-in-exile," the "Strasbourg proposals" were put forward by the Dalai Lama and determined in a democratic way, and hence, should not be altered. Samdhong Rinpoche, the "prime minister" of the Tibetan "government-in-exile" also declared in 2008 that it is a core issue that there are no troops in the autonomous region. Therefore, the Dalai Lama's separatist requirement for the withdrawal of troops and the removal of Han Chinese from Tibet is the basic content of his "middle way" approach. The Dalai Lama has not abandoned such beliefs moreover he continuously puts forward new, more unreasonable and rude requirements.

Tibetologists noted that troops provide basic preservation of a country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, national security and social stability. No country can agree to withdraw its troops from its own territory. Lian Xiangmin, a research fellow at CTRC, said pointedly that, "If China had no troops in Tibet, there would be no way for the Central Government to oversee national defense." Therefore, the Dalai Clique's opinions are not only conflicting, but also are complete lies to cheat others.

 

4th Question: Whose "Shangri-La" was the old Tibet?

The Dalai Lama continued to brag that Tibet before Democratic Reform was a "free Tibet," a place filled with human rights, equality and freedom.

Zhang Yun, a research fellow at CTRC, said that the Dalai Clique is still praising the feudal serfdom, calling it a paradise where human beings lived in harmony with nature, beautifying the cruel oppression of serfs by serf owners as a cultural feature of Tibet, which is really a discountenance to history. "However, even the most exquisite lies cannot wipe out the dark memory of the old Tibet."

US Tibetologist Tom Grunfeld said that although some claim that before 1959 ordinary Tibetans could enjoy as much milk tea as they wished, a large amount of meat and a variety of vegetables, a 1940 survey conducted in eastern Tibet shows that 38 percent of families never had tea to drink, 51 percent could not afford ghee, and 75 percent sometimes had to eat weeds boiled with ox bones and oat or bean flour. "There is no evidence to show that Tibet was a utopian Shangri-La."

In sharp contrast to this, before the Democratic Reform in 1959, the Dalai Lama himself owned 160,000 liang (one liang is equal to 50 grams) of gold, 95 million liang of silver, over 20,000 pieces of jewelry and jade articles, and over 10,000 pieces of all kinds of silks, satins and precious fur coats. His family possessed 27 manors, 30 ranches and over 6,000 serf farmers and herdsmen.

All of the monasteries and noblemen of old Tibet had prisons or private prison cells where they could prepare their own instruments of torture and set up clandestine tribunals to punish serfs and slaves. Many handcuffs, fetters, staves and instruments for cruel torture including gouging out eyes and ripping out tendons were discovered in the Ganden Monastery. In the private monastery administration institution set up by Trijang Rinpoche, junior tutor of the 14th Dalai Lama, in Deqingzong, over 500 serfs and poverty-stricken monks had been beaten to death or injured. Also 121 people had been put in prison, 89 had been banished, 538 had been forced into slavery, 1,025 had been forced into exile and 484 women had been raped.

People were divided into three classes and nine grades by the old Tibetan code of law. The lives of the top class "were worth an amount of gold equivalent to the weight of their bodies," whereas the lives of the bottom class, "including women, vagabonds, blacksmiths and butchers," "were as cheap as a piece of straw rope." As the saying went in old Tibet, "there were three knives cutting into the serfs: endless toil, heavy taxation and high interest rates; three roads lay before the serfs: running away from famine, becoming a slave or begging." Former serfs have said, "With spring water dripping on them, rocks gather green moss over thousands of years; the tears rolling down our cheeks show that our hatred is as deep as the sea!" People cannot help but ask: Is this the "free Tibet" admired by the Dalai Lama?

V. Ovqinnikov, a senior commentator for Pravda, pointed out that "it is absolutely absurd and shameless" to describe the 14th Dalai Lama as "a protector of human rights," and that "the Dalai Lama should be held inescapably responsible for the inhumane and cruel feudal serfdom system."

 

5th Question: Are Tibetans free and happy or "suffering in hell on earth?"

On March 10, at the 50th anniversary gathering of the so-called "Tibetan people's peaceful uprising against Communist China's repression in Tibet," the Dalai Lama provocatively said that the Tibetan people have been "suffering in hell on earth" following the Democratic Reform in Tibet.

More than 50 years ago, it was this same Dalai Lama, the then Chairman of the Preparatory Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region, who, at the inaugural meeting of the Preparatory Committee, affirmed that the "Seventeen Article Agreement" enabled the Tibetan people to "fully enjoy all the rights of ethnic equality, and begin to walk on a sunlit path of freedom and happiness."

Which is better, old Tibet or new Tibet? It is Tibet's one million emancipated serfs who have the final word on this question.

Recently, reporters visited the family of Tenzin Pasang, a villager of Gaba, a village in Najin Town in Lhasa. Tenzin Pasang, 68, was emotional when he told reporters about the development and changes of the past 50 years. "My parents and all my forefathers were serfs of Sera Monastery. My family had no property, no house, no land and no personal freedom, and at night, we had to share a room with livestock. If some people claim that old Tibet was good, it is nothing more than rumors," he said. After the Democratic Reform, earth-shaking changes have taken place for his family. Thanks to the low-income housing project implemented in the Tibetan Autonomous Region in 2006, Tenzin Pasang's family has experienced dramatic changes to their housing conditions. He added that with 25,000 yuan in government subsidies, 25,000 yuan in bank loans and a certain amount of money he raised himself, his family was able to build a large house covering 500 square meters.

Born in a poor family in the old Tibet, Qiangba Puncog, Chairman of the People's Government of the Tibet Autonomous Region, has experienced changing times and has been eyewitness to many major historic events. He said that before 1959, Tibet under the Dalai Lama's rule was a society of feudal serfdom that was darker and more backward than medieval society in Europe. "A living hell" was the most appropriate word to describe society in the old Tibet. He noted that over the past 50 years since Democratic Reform, great changes have taken place in Tibet, its economy and society have made leaps and bounds in development, and anyone with an objective mind and who has visited Tibet knows all about it.

Over the last 50 years, the pace of Tibet's development and progress has proved the Dalai Lama's affirmation 50 years ago, namely that the "Seventeen-Article Agreement"has enabled the Tibetan people to "fully enjoy all the rights of ethnic equality, and begin to walk on a sunlit path of freedom and happiness" to be true.

-- The social system in Tibet has made a historic leap, and the Tibetan people have since entered a new era where they are the masters of Tibet. Most amazing in this far-reaching reform are the drastic changes that have been brought to the destinies of one million serfs. At present, among all NPC deputies, 20 are from the Tibet Autonomous Region. Among them, 12 are from the Tibetan ethnic group, one is from the Monba ethnicity and another is from the Lhoba ethnicity.

-- The economy has moved forward in leaps and bounds. From 1959 to 2008, Tibet's GDP increased from 174 million yuan to 39.591 billion yuan, an increase of 65 times when accounting for inflation, an annual growth rate of 8.9 percent. Since 1994, Tibet's annual GDP growth has reached 12.8 percent, higher than the average annual growth rate of the whole country. From 1959 to 2008, the GDP per capita of Tibet increased by 13,719 yuan, from 142 yuan to 13,861 yuan.

-- People's living standards have risen dramatically, and subsistence and development conditions have greatly improved. Before Democratic Reform, the farmers and herdsmen of Tibet did not have any means of production. They were in debt for almost their whole lives, which says  nothing for their net incomes. In 2008, the per capita net income of the farmers and herdsmen of Tibet reached 3,176 yuan. Since 1978, per capita net income of the farmers and herdsmen of Tibet maintained an annual increase of 10.1 percent, and since 2003, has been increasing by 13.1 percent annually.

Ismael Sergio Ley Lopez, the former Mexican ambassador to China, has been to Tibet four times. Each time he was there, he had many thoughts and feelings. He believes that people who have never been to Tibet have no right to make criticisms about Tibet, because they do not understand the real Tibet and the efforts made by the Chinese government to construct and develop Tibet.

"I have many Tibetan friends who have become gradually rich by traveling between Tibet and Beijing doing craftwork business. As the economies of Tibet and interior China become more integrated, more happiness can be seen on the faces of Tibetan people. From their smiles, I can see the joy in their hearts."

 

6th Question: Are Tibet's religious, cultural, linguistic and ethnic characteristics on the brink of extinction?

On March 6, the Dalai Lama said while being interviewed by western media that "the Han Chinese plan to eliminate the Tibetan language and culture." On March 10, the Dalai Lama repeated his same old claim that Tibet's "religious, cultural, linguistic and ethnic characteristics are on the brink of extinction."

According to An Caidan, curator of the library and a research fellow at CTRC, for those who have a basic understanding of the situation in Tibet, the Dalai Lama's lies are extremely absurd. For experts, his fallacies are simply not worth debunking. In the old Tibet, education was only available for the nobles and available in lamaseries. Unless they became lamas, ordinary Tibetans did not have the opportunity for education. Nowadays, due to the Central Government's legislation and policy support, usage of the Tibetan language has been popularized in an unprecedented way. "From education for children to higher education and from vocational education to special education, which education level does not have teaching materials in the Tibetan language?" he was quoted as saying.

"Look at the modern cultural facilities that can be found all over Lhasa and throughout Tibet. They are open to the general public, not just benefiting a certain person or certain noble class. But in old Tibet, how many ordinary people, except the ruling class, were able to admire traditional Tibetan singing and dancing?" Ciren Yangzong, an associate research fellow at CTRC, said. "The paintings of Tibetan artists are exhibited at the National Art Museum of China and the songs composed by Tibetan musicians are sung throughout the nation. Tibetan elements have aroused widespread attention and are appreciated by many, indicating that the functions of protecting, developing, and flourishing Tibetan culture are self-evident."

Galsang, Deputy Director of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Commission under the Tibet Autonomous Region Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, had worked for the autonomous region's archives department for over 30 years.

However, he has never found any records in existing contemporary archives concerning investments made by old Tibet's local government to renovate monasteries. Most of the maintenance for monasteries was done by people forced to take part in the compulsory service.

After the Democratic Reform, however, the Central Government regarded Tibetan Buddhism as part of traditional Tibetan ethnic culture and granted it effective preservation. Since the 1980s, the central government has successively allocated more than 700 million yuan to preserve Tibet's places of religious worship such as monasteries, stupas and offering halls.

In particular, from 1989 to 1994, China allocated special funds of over 55 million yuan and a large amount of gold and silver to renovate the Potala Palace.

Beginning in 2001, China has additionally allocated 330 million yuan to a special fund for preserving three major historical relics-the Potala Palace, Norbulingka and the Sakya Monastery.

In 2007, the Central Government allocated an additional 570 million yuan for the comprehensive maintenance and preservation of Tibet's 22 cultural relic units under top state protection during the "Eleventh Five-Year Plan." This was unprecedented in China's history of cultural relic preservation.

 

7th Question: Who is creating ethnic hatred and separation?

During the 50th anniversary gathering of the so-called "Tibetan people's peaceful uprising against Communist China's repression in Tibet" on March 10, the Dalai Lama attempted to instigate people by saying that the Chinese government has been inciting ethnic hatred and separation between the Han Chinese and ethnic Tibetans.

As a matter of fact, it is the Dalai Lama who on various occasions has continuously incited ethnic hatred and separation between the Han Chinese and ethic Tibetans. In his "five-point peace plan for Tibet" proposed in 1987 in the US and the "seven-point new suggestions" made in 1988 in Strasbourg, France, the Dalai Lama clearly stated that Chinese troops and military facilities should withdraw from Tibet; Han Chinese should immediately stop moving to the Tibetan region, and Han Chinese settlers should leave Tibet.

Moreover, Samdhong Rinpoche, "prime minister" of the Tibetan "government-in-exile" clearly noted that non-Tibetans in the Tibet Autonomous Region should not have autonomy, and that all government and official posts should be held by ethnic minorities. On March 6 this year, in an interview with a western media outlet, the Dalai Lama tried to stir up tensions by saying that many Han Chinese residents living in Tibet have prepared weapons to guard against Tibetans.

Facts speak louder than words. Qiangba Puncog, Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region's government, said that over the past 50 years, the central government has offered particular care and concern to Tibet, and has made full efforts to support Tibet's development. Large amounts of data also prove that Tibet has benefited from the large-scale support of the Central Government, as well as from the unity and coordination of all ethnic groups:

-- The Central Government as well as provinces and autonomous regions across the country have provided large amounts of support to Tibet. Statistics show that since the founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region, 94.9 percent of its fiscal expenditure, totaling 87.586 billion yuan, has been subsidized by the Central Government.

-- The Central Government has planned 80 major projects in Tibet for the "Eleventh Five-Year Plan," with a total investment of 109.7 billion yuan. Of this, 77.8 billion yuan is to be invested during the "Eleventh Five-Year Plan" period and will be financed by the Central Government.

-- In terms of taxation, Tibet is the only region in China that has enjoyed a preferential revenue rate, which is three percentage points lower than the national tax rate, and all taxes and fees for farmers and herdsmen have been waived. In terms of finance, Tibet has always enjoyed a preferential lending rate policy, two percentage points lower than all other parts of China, as well as low insurance rates.

-- Various polices have been carried out such as free medical care for farmers and herdsmen, as well as free food and accommodation for school children of farmers and herdsmen.

Thiru N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of "The Hindu," has paid 17 visits to China since 1978, and has witnessed Tibet's economic take-off. He commented that although Tibet has been impacted by the international financial crisis, its economic growth rate is still remarkable. It is also worth mentioning the completion of the miraculous Qinghai-Tibet Railway on the "Roof of the World," which has been a major driving force for development in Tibet. Therefore, we can see that Tibet has truly benefited from the policy support of China's Central Government and the assistance of its sister provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, something that is rarely seen in other countries.

A number of experts and scholars point out that to judge whether a society is making progress, whether a system is advanced or ignorant, one must look at whether the rights and interests of the majority of people have benefited to the maximum extent. The contemporary history of Tibet over the past 50 years has proved that without the Democratic Reform, there would be no emancipation for the massive amount of working people, who account for 95 percent of Tibet's population, and Tibet's economy and society would not have made developed in leaps and bounds.

Abolition of feudal serfdom was not only an essential requirement for historical progress in Tibet it was a great achievement for the human rights cause throughout the world. This is a historical conclusion.

 

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