Monday, 17 March 2008

Tibet: Face The Facts

I have had communications from people saying that Western visitors to Tibet in the Forties and Fifties observed that the Dalai Lama and his courtiers ran the place. Indeed they did, with ninety-five per cent of the population in serfdom, with only one very particular form of religion permitted, and with ruthless suppression of non-Tibetan cultures, exactly as is currently being attempted at the Dalai Lama's instigation if not under his actual direction. That is the story here. Yet the reverse is being reported.

The Dalai Lama and his courtiers did not misgovern Tibet as a sovereign state, as which absolutely nobody has ever recognised it. They misgoverned Tibet because successive Chinese Emperors and Republics let them. By all means let there be freedom throughout the multi-ethnic and indivisible nation of China, including multi-ethnic Tibet. But that is not at all what the Tibetan non-government in non-exile wants.

As an anonymous comment on an earlier post puts it:

The Tibetans are a Chinese ethnic minority. There are 55 ethnic minorities in China that make up about 160 million people. Their different cultures are celebrated on TV and protected by law. They have their own political parties, they receive favourable treatment in education and development, and the government even helped them to develop their own written languages using the alphabet.

These are hardly the policies of a government afraid of heterogeneity. The ethnic minorities are flourishing and this is not propaganda - it can be seen with your own eyes if you dare to open them.

So it's no surprise that the Chinese think the Tibetans are better off now than they ever have been. They used to live under a feudal theocracy. They had no education or sanitation and most people couldn't read Tibetan or enjoy the culture because they were the uneducated underclass.

Now, most people receive an education and can read Tibetan but the government still has work to do to get the nomads to send their children to school. Nomads rarely get a good education. School is compulsory in the UK and it should be compulsory in Tibet, too. Nomads can be unruly, too - just look at what they're doing in Sudan.

There's also the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama has done such a fantastic job of marketing himself to the west, he has almost become a westerner. What a kind and benevolent man - wouldn't you like to just give him a hug?

No, I would not.

I have also received obscene and abusive emails from a pro-feudalism (but only for Tibetans) and pro-theocracy (but only for Tibetans) activist called Neil McGowan, whose email address is

1 comment:

  1. David

    A very interesting blog, I have to admit to knowing very little about Tibet and I worry that some people are taking a knee jerk reaction to the current crises. Until I am better informed on the subject I cannot pass an opinion but I welcome your post as it attempts to enlighten us.