Through the Eye of the Tibetans
by Grain

There seems to be two schools of thoughts on what Tibetans feel about Tibet.

Here in the U.S., the newspapers tend to carry an article now and then of "Tibetan suffering" when a "Tibetan refugee" contacts a journalist, and pours out his or her sad tale complete with some "Chinese violence" that would make a good headline.
On the Chinese government's web sites, one will find the opposite: articles galore of happy Tibetans who live productive lives. Are these propaganda as well?

There are independent sites that carry Tibetan accounts such as:

Navigating the myriad of what various Tibetans had said, it is hard to develop a real sense of exactly how the Tibetans feel. Next to zero is reported on how the Tibetans in central China may feel. I surmise that it is highly frowned upon for any Tibetan to speak in contrary to what the Dalai Lama says. Speaking against the Dalai Lama can mean jeopardy to one's standing and acceptance in the Tibetan community. Those Tibetans in central China, if they spoke up, may also easily be looked upon as "Chinese propaganda" by the West. It is just about pointless for them to speak at this time. However, I don't doubt at all that sometime in the future, they will indeed speak up.

A friend of mine who is a good friend to a Tibetan woman who had lived in Taiwan told me this: "She (this Tibetan woman) brought up her two children, teaching them Tibetan language and culture. Now one of her sons is pro Tibet independence, but the woman and her other son are not so."

I've read reports of other Tibetan families split in their opinions. So this isn't the only case.

In my search for some truth behind all the propaganda, I came upon a piece of evidence on what some real Tibetans feel, from The World Tibet Network. This Network is constantly passing out pro-Tibet Independence propaganda pieces. In this article, they inadvertently revealed some truth:

Subject: World Tibet Network Weekly Digest 9/1-8/7 1995

Tibet exiles slam China for torture, sabotage
by Mure Dickie

HUAIROU, China, Sep 2 (Reuter) - Exiled Tibetan women accused Beijing Saturday of genocide and forced abortion in their Himalayan homeland and told a grassroots forum that China had sabotaged their workshop just minutes earlier.

The nine women from the independent Tibetan Women's Delegation clashed at their workshop with the Chinese-sponsored Tibetans and fled in tears when they were shouted down by their homeland colleagues.

At the workshop, some of the nine had given testimony on human rights abuses and nuclear pollution in their remote Himalayan homeland, saying poorly educated nomads were bearing the brunt of environmental degradation caused by Chinese uranium mines and nuclear facilities.

The nine, dressed in brightly colored traditional skirts and jackets, accused China of flooding Tibet with Chinese immigrants and of tough birth control policies such as forced abortion and sterilization that amounted to genocide.

A Tibetan from the Chinese group got up and began to make a speech, and a shouting match erupted when the exiles told her she was permitted to ask questions but not to orate.

Other members of the Chinese-sanctioned group began to heckle and shout.

"It got totally out of hand," exile delegate Tenki Tendus Davis said later.

The exiles, who have been followed and filmed by Chinese security officials since they arrived earlier this week, began a Buddhist chant. When the women from their homeland shouted and booed, they fled the room in tears. The workshop broke up in disarray.

"It was very upsetting," said Tendus Davis.

Official Tibetan delegates had been planted in the small room for the workshop and tried to take it over, making it impossible to continue the meeting, said delegation member Yodon Thondon, whose parents fled Tibet after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

Members of the Chinese-organized group dismissed the exiles' vision of an oppressed and rebellious region, plagued by brutal torture of female independence activists.

"We are the real Tibetans," said Suo Na, speaking in the lavishly decorated tent of the official delegates. "They do not live in Tibet and they know nothing of Tibet."

"We would like to talk to (the exiles)," Suo said in perfect Chinese. "But they don't dare come to meet us."

I noticed this article's bias in words such as "perfect Chinese", when what Suo spoke was "perfect common language". [Please see: "Languages Diversity in China".]

These Tibetan Exiles claimed "the Chinese sabotaged" them. Yet, the real speakers here were their hometown Tibetans. In addition, is it not "sabotage" to go back to China to voice their agenda, to deny locals a voice in their workshop (they were allowing local Tibetans to only ask questions, but not orate), and then turn around and tell the West, "the Chinese sabotaged us."?)

"In response to Wolf's remark that "China is swallowing Tibet," Raidi said that Wolf had lacked "the most basic common sense."

To me, common sense means one should think about things like: How did Tibet, after all the peaceful centuries, end up with a population of only 6 million? [Please read:
"Where Did All The Tibetans Go?" to see how the majority of Tibetans live in central China regions.]

"Tibet has been an inseparable part of the Chinese territory since the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), he noted. Moreover, he added, the central government after 1959 has motivated the whole country to support Tibet, which "registered the fastest social-economic development in its history."

He quoted latest statistics: The gross domestic product in Tibet totaled 6.476 billion yuan in 1996, "posting double-digit growth for successive years," he noted; the grain output last year hit 775,000 tons, registering the ninth bumper harvest; the foreign trade volume in 1996 reached more than 100 million US dollars; and the annual net income of farmers and herdsmen hit 975 yuan."

"Referring to the Dalai Lama and his associates, Raidi said the separatist group led by the Dalai Lama had become an anti-China tool ever since they betrayed the motherland and moved to live in exile in 1959. The Dalai Lama never concerned himself with the well-being of the Tibetan people and did nothing beneficial for Tibet. The Tibetan people are now aware of his separatist theory and have long abandoned him, Raidi pointed out."

The Student for Free Tibet site labeled this article as "Chinese propaganda". The speaker here is a Tibetan Chinese. Any Tibetan who admits Tibet is part of China is immediately labeled by the Tibetan separatists in exile as "bad", "cooperating with China" now.

In my opinion, this is NOT the way for the Tibetans in exile to support their own people. They have shown that they are way too willing to defame their own people as a cost to further their own ambitions of separatism.

Instead of supporting the massive number of Tibetan Chinese who have left their homeland to live in central China, many separatists decided it's okay to bash them. They are stabbing their own kind.

This is why the Tibetan Chinese across China can end up hating the separatists. Read this statement again:
"The Dalai Lama never concerned himself with the well-being of the Tibetan people and did nothing beneficial for Tibet. The Tibetan people are now aware of his separatist theory and have long abandoned him, Raidi pointed out."

I just want the Americans to not fall for the exiled Tibetans' vicious attacks on their own kind. People do disagree. Some Tibetans may disagree with other Tibetans. There is no need for the separatist Tibetans to make up lies, and then accuse other Tibetans of being "Chinese propaganda" just to support their own lies.

I feel that if they wanted to achieve independence, they should have at least told the truth.

Some Han people had said, "I would vote for Tibet Independence before I would agree to the lies that Tibet is not part of China."

It's my observation that these exiled Tibetans might have had better support within China had they not lied.

But now...not only have they alienated many Han who would have supported their independence movement, they have also insulted some other Tibetans, who felt abandoned by them. One day, when the majority of the Americans meet the majority of the Tibetans, just how will these Tibetans in exile explain their lies?

Please keep these words in mind:

"We are the real Tibetans. They do not live in Tibet and they know nothing of Tibet. We would like to talk to (the exiles). But they don't dare come to meet us."

The next time if the local Tibetans shouted words like this at the exiles who returned to Tibet, I would much prefer the exiles to stay there and carry out a full debate with them, allowing them to speak, rather than to run and accuse them with labels.

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