Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Look Out for Tibetans and Uyghurs!

This notice was seen in Beijing's Haidian District and posted on a Tibetan's blog on 30th September 2008. Haidian District is known as Beijing's university district and is home to the Central University for Nationalities where most Tibetan students attend. Although posted online on this date, the notice is likely to have been placed in time for the August Olympic Games. Bad news for Tibetans but the good news for Uyghurs is that you guys are now no longer bad guys (according to Americans that is)! Well done!


Urgent Notice

To all hostelries and public baths in the jurisdiction:

According to the demands of the branch office of [the Public Security bureau], from now onwards hostelries and public baths under the jurisdiction of Haidian District should conduct checks on the circumstances of all Tibetans and Uyghurs staying at the business premises. One should reinforce the effort to verify the identification of all such people who check in, and at the same time one should report to the police station.

Note, all hostelries and public bath houses should carefully check and correctly record information on guests’ ethnicity.

All accommodations receiving Tibetans and Uyghurs should immediately report to the police station.

Contact person: Officer Wu Hu, cell: 13801093916

Huayuan Road Police Station direct lines: 62014692 and 6203 2656

Huayuan Road Police Station

The above comment to the blog post reads:
"This news came out a few days ago. Since then, many of us university students encountered this problem."
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Monday, September 29, 2008

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

We all heard of this quote “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics”. I don’t know the who uttered these words first. Some attribute this to Benjamin Disraeli, colourful 19th century British Prime Minister, others ascribe the quote to Walter Bagehot, who is regarded as the philosopher behind the modern Conversative Party. I think it may be been Bagehot, he was the editor of The Economist for 17 years and wrote a great deal about government and constitutional matters. Both Benjamin Disraeli and Bagehot were the key figures who shaped the Modern Tory Party. I mustn’t write too much off the top of my head though, last time I did that a reader corrected me about the date for the US recognition of Mongolia.

Anwyway, I quite like the quote and everytime I read reports from China about Tibet, this quote keeps coming to mind. Last week the Chinese government issued another White Paper on Tibet, which contains an impressive set of statistics. I have always wondered how these figures are compiled. In the 1970s, the CCP tried to show that the PLA are really performing services to the “liberated serfs” of Tibet and used to rattle out figures for the number of how many free haircuts they carried out and how many tons of water they carried to the field. The CCP’s predilection for
statistics was pointed out by another blogger, who works as an English editor for Xinhua. He wrote “There is no attempt at understanding anything about what Tibetans are thinking. The argument is based purely on money and statistics”.

High Peaks Pure Earth found an interesting post written in Chinese on this blog. The author gives an interesting account of how figures are compiled at a local level at Chigdril Dzong
(gChig sgril rdzong) in Golok (gMog log).

Here is an English translation of the post:

An Account of the Serious Falsification of Data Concerning the Universal Nine-year Compulsory Education and the Elimination of Illiteracy Among Youths and Adults in Chidril County (Ch: Jiuzhi, Qinghai Province) by Luwo Tsetan

In 2007 when the Provincial Team Inspecting the Work Concerning the Universal Nine-year Compulsory Education and the Elimination of Illiteracy among Youths and Adults came to Chigdril County, they demanded that the enrolment rate of school-age children should be 100%. When the County authorities reported to the higher level of government organizations, they reported the enrolment rate at 99.6 percent. For 98% of school-age children, they reported 96.25 percent. The drop-out rate for primary schools was !%, and that of the junior high schools was 3%. The literacy rate for people between the age of 15 to 50 was 95% but it was reported to be 96.53%. The literacy rate for youths between the age of 15 and 24 was 95% but it was reported to be 96.53%. The rate for completing primary school for 16 year old youths was 98% but it was reported to be 98.2%. And for the rate of completing the Junior High School among 18 year old youth was 85% but was reported to be 86.72%.

This data was falsified by the staff charged to establish data for the Universal Nine-year Compulsory Education and the Elimination of Illiteracy among Youths and Adults, headed by Erko, the deputy magistrate in charge of Cultural and Educational Affairs in
Chigdril County.

1. It is absolutely impossible for the enrolment rate for school-age children and youth in the area to reach the percentage mentioned above. In order not to have their children to go to school, the herdsmen of the area would pay children of herdsmen from Ngawa (Aba) County, Machu (Maqu) County and other townships in the county to replace their children. For each student, they would pay about 20,000 Yuan. Over 200 young monks in the monasteries have not received nine-year compulsory education and between March and August of this year the number of drop-out students from the only Tibetan School was as high as 40. Thus the actual enrolment rate of the school-age children and youth can be logically imagined.

2. The statistics and the rosters of school-age children and youth in the primary schools of the various townships as well as the two middle schools are false. All students who are older than their peers were transferred to the junior high schools, and the original classes were mixed with others. When the Prefectural Inspection Team came to re-examine the second time, they asked the teacher how many students and how many female students there were in the class, but the teacher in charge of the class replied frankly whether he/she should tell them the real number or the fake number the county authorities demanded him/her to report. The Prefectural Inspection Team called the teacher a fool, and left.

3.The literacy rate for youth and adults and the enrolment rate for the junior high schools are also false. The literacy teachers would give the textbooks and exams to students in the Junior Middle School Section of the Tibetan School, and have them complete the homework and take the exams. Majority of Tibetan herdsmen in the countryside do not even know a single Chinese character, how is it be possible for the county to reach the literacy rate of 90%?

4. In October 2007 when the data for the Universal Nine-year Compulsory Education and the Elimination of Illiteracy among Youths and Adults was initially collected and established, it was required that the number of students in the Tibetan School in the county must reach about 1,300, and at that time the number of students in the school was 700. In the end of October there formed intensive classes with over 500 students. Among these students, some are graduates from a certain senior high school, and others were students who graduated from the Tibetan school but were herding at home. Still others were monks. They all came to school to deal with the inspection, thus, as soon as the inspection team left, the students could go home. Initially when the students came to register for the classes, the county authorities promised to give them salaries, and would provide them with houses to resettle the immigrants. Though they lived in the school for no more than two months, in the dossier it was recorded as a four-year intensive class. Eventually, the salary some students received was such materials as solar energy equipments used to help the poor given by the Department of the Civil Administration of the county (the value of these materials is 5,000 to 6,000 Yuan). However, up to now some students still have not received their salary, and some poor families filed their complaints to the provincial authorities because they did not receive the materials they were supposed to obtain from the county authorities.

5. The intensive classes in the various townships were also established to deal with the inspection. The students just came a few days ago, and they all came to earn some money.

6. There are over 40 full-time teachers in the Tibetan School of
Chigdril County, but the county authorities reported over 80 teachers. In the list of these “extra teachers”, most of them are staff in the Bureau of Culture and Education, including accountants, cashier, typists, drivers or office boys. They also included names of teachers who have already been transferred to other counties or retired teachers. Judging from the situation, how can they satisfactorily complete the task of teaching over 20 classes with over 700 students. How is it possible to even take the quality of teaching into consideration!

7. They implemented the system of vetoing with four votes, and the salaries for the teachers are in arrears.

8. Whatever is written in the report of the evaluation of the Universal Nine-Year Compulsory Education and the Elimination of Illiteracy among Youth and Adults is false. Leaders like Erko have brought great loss to the cause of education in the region. Is it right to guide the work concerning education like this? If the leaders in charge of education set such an example, how can the teachers who are on the forefront of education improve the quality of education? How is it possible for the local economy to develop!!!

I hope the government departments concerned redress the issue as soon as possible.

Here is the original post in Chinese:

[ 2008-9-28 11:06:00 | By: 罗哇才旦 ]

一,2007年第一次省级两基检查团到久治县检查两基时要求适龄儿童入学率100,上报时入学率99.6. 适龄少年98,上报96.25,小学辍学率控制在1, 初中辍学率控制在315周岁至50周岁非文盲率95,上报96.53. 15周岁至24周岁青壮年非文盲率95,上报96.53.16周岁初等教育完成率98,上报98.9218周岁初级中等教育完成率85



1. 本地区的适龄儿童和适龄少年的入学率根本达不到以上所说那样,本地区的牧民群众为了不让自己的子女上学从阿坝县,玛曲县和本县其它乡镇的牧民子女用钱买过来顶替,每人两万元左右。寺院僧人中有年纪小的200人以上没上过九年义务教育,今年3月到8月仅仅藏中辍学生人数达到40人,这样久治县的适龄儿童和适龄少年入学率就可想而知。

2. 各乡小学和两所中学的适龄儿童和适龄少年的统计和花名册都是假的,年龄大的都调到初中部,原有的班级都打乱了,州检查团第二次到久治县复查验收时问你班有多少人,有多少女生时,某班主任直接说;我说真的吗还是县要求的说假的。州检查团的说了一句傻瓜就走了。


4. 200710月份县两基建档时要求县藏中学生人数要达到1300余人,当时藏中实有学生人数700余人。10月底建立强化班500余人,这些强化班的学生有些是高中学校毕业的学生,有些是本县中学毕业后在家放牧的,有些是僧人,他们到学校只是为了应付检查,检查团走后学生们可以回家。刚开始这些学生到校报名时县领导答应给工资,配发移民安置房屋,学校内住了不到两个月,建起的档案中写得是四年的强化班。最后有些学生拿到的工资是民政局发给贫困户的扶贫物资太阳能 (价值5000元至6000元)有些学生至今还没拿到工资,贫困户们没拿到扶贫物资太阳能后告到省上了。

5. 今年各乡的强化班也是应付检查的,刚到不过几天,学生都是为挣钱而的。

6. 久治县藏中实有专职教师40余人,上报时有80余人,多余的这些教师名单中多部分是县文教局的工作人员包括会计,出纳,打字员,驾驶员,通讯员等,有一些是调到其它县的教师,还有一些是退休的教师,这样能把700余人学生和20多个班级的教学任务怎能完成,教学质量如何谈起、



尔科这样的领导给本地方的教育带来了多大的损失,这样领导教育是正 的吗?教育第一线的教师们怎能把教育搞上去,教育领导是这样带头的吗?本地区的经济怎样发展!!!


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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wen Jiabao's interview with CNN

CNN was the hate target of angry Chinese nationalists during the Tibetan protests. In March 2008 during his visit to Vietnam, Wen Jiabao in his interviews with international press used the phrase "the Dalai Lama' in contrast to the usual term Dalai or Dalai clique that was favouved by the Chinese state media. Wen Jiabao's use of the phrase lead many to speculate that Wen might have different views from hardliners in the Party. Wen further called upon the Dalai Lama to use his influence to end the violence in Tibet. In the recent interview with CNN, Wen follows the standard line and showed no indications of change in China's stance.

Watch the news clip here or read the full transcript of the interview here.

The section on Tibet is as follows:



ZAKARIA: May I ask you about another set of possible talks? The Dalai Lama has said, now, it appears that he would accept China's rule in Tibet. He accepts the socialist system in Tibet. And what he asks for is cultural autonomy and a certain degree of political autonomy.

The talks apparently are stuck at a lower level between the Tibetans and the Chinese government. Why don't you, given your power and your negotiating skills, take the issue yourself, and you or President Hu Jintao were to negotiate directly with the Dalai Lama and solve this issue once and for all, for the benefit of the Chinese people and, of course, the Tibetan people who are also in China?

WEN (voice of interpreter): In many places all over the world, the Dalai Lama keeps preaching about the idea of the so-called autonomy in the greater Tibetan region. And actually, the so-called autonomy that he pursues is actually to use religion to intervene in politics. And they want to separate the so-called "greater Tibetan region" from the motherland.

And many people in the United States have no idea how big is the so-called "greater Tibetan region." The so-called "greater Tibetan region," preached by the Dalai Lama, actually covers Tibet, Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai and Gansu - altogether, five provinces. And the area covered by this so-called "greater Tibetan region" accounts for a quarter of China's territory.

For decades, our policy towards the Dalai Lama remains unchanged. That is, as long as the Dalai Lama is willing to recognize that Tibet is an inalienable part of China's territory, and as long as the Dalai Lama gives up his separatist activities, we are willing to have contact and talks with him or his representatives. Now, sincerity holds the key to producing results out of the talks.

ZAKARIA: What action would you like to see from the Dalai Lama that would show sincerity?

WEN (voice of interpreter): Actually, I already made it clear that, when we observe any individual, the Dalai Lama included, we should not only watch what - we should not only observe what he says, but also watch what he does.

His sincerity can be demonstrated in giving up separatist activities. But then, everything depends on the development of the situation.
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Friday, September 26, 2008

Why Armchair Revolutionaries Hate Tibet

This is an original feature by High Peaks Pure Earth in response to Brendan O’Neill’s article titled, 'Why Liberals Love Tibet', published in the American Conservative. Although the article appeared in a right wing magazine, Brendan O’Neill was the former editor of the now defunct magazine Living Marxism and is currently a columnist for the British paper The Guardian.

As Brendan O’Neill began his idiotic piece with a confession, let me begin with one of my own. I too have a long history of marching on the streets of London. In fact, longer then O’Neill. I first joined protests against Indira Gandhi’s imposition of emergency laws in India. Since then I have lost count. If O’Neill thinks people protest because they desire a pat on the back, he is sadly mistaken. We march because we are opposed to injustice.

As a political activist, I am familiar with all the adjectives that are dished out against us. When I marched against the Stop and Search laws that were imposed by the British police to intimidate Asians and Blacks; protested against the virginity tests imposed by the British immigration services, I remember being described as a wog and a social security scrounger, and, when marching with the CND, being described as an agent of the Communists. When marching against the Apartheid regime, I remember being told that I did not understand the blacks and had never lived amongst them. So there is nothing new in O’Neill’s criticism. He is part of the privileged class that he is supposed to despise, which fashions cliché as a novel and original insight.

The main point of O’Neill’s piece is to say that the pro-Tibetan protesters are disillusioned romantics and made up of the western middle class. All protest movements in the world have been accused of being romantic and composed of middle class do-gooders. So, there is nothing new in this kind of criticism and O’Neill is merely regurgitating criticism that is most commonly leveled against any protest movement. The environmentalists and animal rights protesters are often accused of being romantic as a result of being brought up watching Bambi and viewing too many National Geographic programs (in South Africa they are now called ‘white bunny huggers’). I guess O’Neill would have described anti-apartheid protesters as romantic middle class being brought up hugging “golliwogs” during childhood. The Israelis often describe the pro-Palestinian movement as imbued with romantic images of revolutionaries in colourful headgear. The Western powers often disparaged the CND movement as an agent of Soviet Union. Such attempt to denigrate protesters is a common strategy of oppressors and their allies.

The fact that the middle classes engage in protest movements speaks more of the nature of Western society and particularly of Britain’s class and caste ridden social structure. At one level we might criticize the class origin of protesters but the ability to recognize injustice is not bound by class. The most iconic of all revolutionaries, Che Guevara, came from a middle class background and was a doctor, the most bourgeois profession of all. Was he romanticising the lives of the Bolivian peasants or had he recognised the injustice that permeates South American societies? The fight for justice cannot be bonded by class loyalty; if this were the case, no revolution would ever have taken place. Let’s take the case of the remarkable Tony Benn in Britain, since his family originated from high echelons of British society and have never crawled into the mine pits and blackened their faces from carrying sacks of coal. Does this mean that his support for the working class of Britain is imbued with romantic visions of the green valleys of Wales?

Another point O’Neill makes is that the Tibetan cause serves the interest of Western governments. If one has a modicum of understanding of history, one would know that since Western Imperialist penetrations into Asia, the West has also been pro-China in its relations with Tibet. It is evident that through Western interaction with Tibet, China has been a valuable strategic ally of the West. In the 18th & 19th centuries, Western powers adopted a pro-China stance because of fears of Tsarist Russia. China was seen as a means of countering Tsarist expansion in Central Asia. If the West was so anti-China, why did the Western Governments not recognise the independence of Mongolia and Tibet? Mongolia declared independence in 1911 from the Qing Empire and it was only after the collapse of Soviet Union that the Americans recognised Mongolia. Similarly, when Tibet declared independence in 1911 it did not have the support of the British nor of other Western powers. During the Cold War period, China was the de-facto ally of Western powers against the Soviet Union. For many Western intellectuals, China was the acceptable face of Communism. Despite the fact there were people fleeing from China to Soviet Central Asia, because life was better in the Soviet Union.

Today, Western governments and businesses are enamoured by the success of China’s economy. Recently, Fiat the Italian car company made an apology to the Chinese government for using well-known pro-Tibet American actor Richard Gere in its commercials. What for? Who has heard of a multi-national company making an apology to an authoritarian regime? Imagine if a Western multi-national company made an apology to a Latin American dictator or the Apartheid regime for using well-known opponents of the regime in its commercials. Why is it that major Internet companies, such as Google and Yahoo are happy to oblige the Chinese censors and are willing to allow bloggers to be sent to jail? Do they represent anti-Chinese forces in the West or are they allies of the Chinese regime for profit?

Another point Mr. O’Neill makes is that the Tibetans and their allies are Luddites, opposed to development. What O’Neill fails to understand is the nature of the opposition. Tibetans are not opposed to development. The essence of Tibetan opposition is about colonial exploitation and resource extraction. If he read carefully and studied the pattern of development and resource extraction in Tibet, it is classic colonial exploitation, where the people of the land are left disadvantaged and the colonial authority usurps the profit. Take for example the building of the railway link between Tibet and China; no doubt this is a great technological accomplishment and required huge investment but the primary aim of the railway was for the accomplishment and consolidation of colonial conquest. So, why should Tibetans support developments that strengthen their own subjugation? Do you think the Chinese are grateful to the Japanese for building the railway in Manchuria? In fact many of my Tibetan friends are not even allowed to board the train to their homeland.

Armchair revolutionaries like O’Neill hate the Tibetans because we do not speak their language. We do not carry placards with faces they know, like Che Guevara. We do not adorn ourselves with Khaki revolutionary uniforms. Our leaders speak in a language they do not understand, we do not espouse textbook revolutionary speak, and bow down to figures like Marx, Engels and others god like figures that are familiar to them. Therefore, we are alien.

For Western armchair revolutionaries, we present a danger because we destabilize their image of the world, where everyone must conform to the old fashioned western image of progress and modernity. For them China is a perfect example of progress. Today, China has discarded its heritage and become a master at emulating all things that represent the west, from learning to play the piano or wearing suits. At a simple level, look at the mode of dress, no Chinese would be seen dead in anything resembling traditional Chinese attire, which to them indicates “backwardness”. Whilst, we Tibetans cling to wearing our traditional clothes which is seen as a sign of resisting modernity and progress. For us, it is a mark of our refusal to surrender.

The armchair revolutionary has inherent prejudice against anything to do with religion and so our protest movement stems from unfamiliar territory. He cannot accept that religious values can be a source of social change. Martin Luther King’s fight for justice for black people in America was impelled by his Christian values. Similarly, the staunch ally of Tibet, Desmond Tutu of South Africa lead his fight against Apartheid regime. The Catholic Liberationist theologians were the forefront of opposition to South American dictators. So, Tibetan Buddhism can also provide a basis for the fight for social justice. O’Neill quoted that the Dalai Lama is not elected and claims that the Dalai Lama is an obstacle for social change. Whilst it is true there is nothing democratic about the institution and authority of the Dalai Lama, in any struggle the people allow what is most conducive to their struggle. At present, the Dalai Lama provides a unifying strength for our cause and has been an able-spoken person. Why should we abandon him when he has served the Tibetan people well for the past five decades? There are masses of disposed Kings and pontiffs around the world, they have retired to the South of France or established themselves as new age gurus but the Dalai Lama has shouldered the responsibility for the people whom he represents, this is precisely the reason that he continues to have meaning for the Tibetan people.

Whatever labels armchair revolutionaries choose to inflict on Tibet protestors - tree huggers, Bambi lovers, woolly-hatted lesbians, romantic hippies - we know we are in a long line of protesters belittled by the powerful. Armchair revolutionaries can be idiots, but they are always useful court jesters to authoritarian regimes.
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Monday, September 22, 2008

"Advice to the Youth of the Land of Snow" By Lobsang Jamyang (Student)

It is sad to see some Tibetan youth idle away their time in pleasure-seeking. Our ancestors have left us with the rich culture and history, but what will we leave for our descendants?

I. Understand Tibetan History

It is extremely important for us Tibetans to learn about our own history so that we can learn from history and better prepared to bring about development in Tibet. We need to understand ourselves, instead of imitating others blindly and losing ourselves. Only in this way can we make progress and bring about development.

II. Attach Great Importance to One’s National Language

A nationality without its own spoken and written languages will not develop much.

All Tibetans have the great responsibility to protect and promote the use of Tibetan language. I am sure all intelligent and thoughtful Tibetan youth will attach great important to the promotion of Tibetan language. It is always beneficial for one to know multiple languages, but it is a shame for not knowing one’s native language. I got to know a Tibetan student online, and she told me that she hated to learn Tibetan since it is useless to learn it. When I asked her why she said so, she frankly told me that she could not make a living with knowing Tibetan. I was sad to see a Tibetan youth in college was so narrow-minded about the concept of survival, and the reason for her to pursue higher education is just to find a job to make a living.

If one wants to keep the good traditional national culture and keep the national characteristics, one has to attach great importance to the national language since it decides the future of the nationality. Can we imagine how much effort and suffering our ancestors underwent to create the language we have today? Lot of them used their lives to change for the language and other cultural heritage left us. Do you think they did this just to make a living? Can it be that one needs to sacrifice one’s life to learn Tibetan? The answer is certainly no. Then, what is the reason for not learning?

In order to develop the national language, every Tibetan youth should try his best to learn Tibetan and to use it in as many occasions as possible. If one has the financial means, one should promote the development of the national culture. All of us have the common responsibility and obligation to promote the use of Tibetan language.
III One’s Heart is the Commander of One’s Deeds and Also the Starting Point for One’s Action

We need people who have their own nationality in mind, and will always think about the future of their nationality.

Have any of you thought about how to prevent us from doing things to delay the development of our nationality? Those youth who care about Tibet must have thought about these issues, but simply do not have strategies to prevent them from happening. It is enough if we care about these issues, and we should take actions next. As long as we all do our job, and guide those who lost their directions in life, we are contributing to the development of Tibet.

In 2004 when I went to college, I had to go to the Municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs to get financial aid to pay for the tuition. I found the strange phenomenon that all those students who came with their parents got the required seal easily even though they did not look like poor people, but those students from really poor families had to come on their own, and very few of them received the aid. I wanted to share my experience with you so that more people will safeguard their rights with law and more and more youth will not go astray in life.

All the youth in the Land of Snow, no matter where you go, please keep your good natural instincts and keep yourself away from those ignorant deeds. When you obtain power and wealth, you have to keep in mind that these are the result of the sweat and toil of common people.

Keeping one’s national identity is one’s most basic norm of action. Many young people forget about their highest ideals, their parents, their friends and their nationality, instead they indulge in pleasure-seeking. We cannot see any national characteristics in them. Everybody should keep one’s national characteristics, which is unique to one’s nationality and is the essence accumulated over the long process of the development of one’s nationality.

What is the thing we should be most proud of?     
Many countries in the world have advance technology, but few have historical cultural relics. For instance, though the United State is very advanced, it only has a few hundred years of history. We do have a very long history, but are we proud of it? (For example, the five Greater and Lesser Sciences, Tibetan medicine, unique culture, Tibetan dances, murals, Buddhist images...)   

There are many more things we should be proud of, but we have not looked for or pay attention to these things. As a Tibetan youth, one should promote our unique and outstanding culture so that other nationalities will better understand our culture.

Have we ever been proud of having such an outstanding culture? Those who have never felt so must be cold-blooded since it means that they have no feeling for the Land of Snow, which nurtured them. People without national sentiment will not make any contribution to one’s nationality, so we should try to be Tibetans with national sentiment and sense of Tibetan identity.

Understanding the Ugliness of Ourselves
People who live on the plateau do not know about the outside world until they leave the snow-mountains and the blue sky. When mankind has already landed on the moon and are exploring the universe, some of us Tibetans are still sitting on the back of donkeys and living a leisurely life. When I see that some Tibetans live such a leisurely life without pressure, motive or urgency, I can only release myself from suffering with tears.

Many Tibetan scholars and intellectuals have called on people to wake up from superstition and ignorance, and have guided them with correct view of life, correct thought and correct value system. But how many of us have really engaged in introspection? These writings profoundly reveal the deep-rooted bad traits, which mainly reflect in the thinking, customs, style and attitude. These traits are the key factors, which have hindered the development of the nationality. It is a pity nobody reads these books.   
It is Time for Us to Use Our Brain
It is easy for many Tibetans to be content with life, and they will live their life day by day without much planning for future. [Mainly because they do not have explicit goal of life and they have some wrong thought. He blames the ruling class for instilling superstitions into people’s head as Buddhist thought in history. Some believe one’s fate is predestined, and nobody can change the reality.] Consequently, there emerges a group of pleasure-seeking people who have no aim in their life and no motivation. They themselves think that's what Buddhism advocates. I read the book Buddhism and Thought, and I could not find such concept in it. The book emphasizes that one will have good retribution only if one does more good deeds.

When other nations are developing and becoming advanced in science, some of us have no ambition and live an idle life. We are happy to receive help from others, and we do not have any dignity. When we receive help, it seems that we do not feel ashamed at all. Do any of us ever think that others are so strong though we all live on the same earth? Have we ever felt ashamed for being weaker than others? Have we really united together to work for the cause of our nationality? No, we have not.

At present, mankind has created unprecedented civilization, but what have we Tibetans created? Many people claim that Tibetan culture is charming, rich and mysterious, but these are things left to us by our ancestors. Without these heritages, what other things do we have to show off?

In order to facilitate the development of Tibetan nationality, the Party and the government sent a large group of youth to study in inland China, but due to some bad influence, some useful youth became useless. I read the entire blogs on Tibetan blog forums, and many Tibetan college students write about what they are doing in college. 80% of them sound very similar: they all change from a youth with high aspiration to somebody without aim and direction in their life. The main reason is that they are influenced by their fellow students. Some students said: “My parents have already found a good job for me, and I am going to work there as soon as I graduate. No matter how hard others try to work, but they will not find good jobs like mine.” Many such things experienced by college students make them lose confidence in many things, and lose their sense of direction and aim in life. We have to provide a fair arena for professionals, in this way, many ambitious youth will strive to realize their dreams. This is the responsibility of the society to provide such an environment, and it is also the wish of the youth.   

With economic development, many alien cultures are introduced into Tibet, but it is not beneficial to the healthy development of our nationality if we accept everything without discrimination.

It is necessary to have advanced scientific technology and advanced culture for the development of the modern society, and one needs perfect spoken and written language to master these technologies. Though we Tibetan have the spoken and written languages, but how many of us really master it and know really how to use it?

Some Tibetan youth know very little written Tibetan, and they are not very good at other languages either. In fact, most of them are from cadre’s families. We cannot understand why they are like this though they have a very good family background. Though their parents are well educated, we cannot understand what kind of education these parents have received. As far as I know, a great number of youth with good family background are like that and they all indulge in pleasure-seeking.

In general, Tibetans lack ambition, and it is easy for them to be content with life. In addition, they are usually short-sighted and lack the belief of striving to stand on one’s own feet.

What Kind of Development Path Do We Choose?
We should focus on development, at the same time we should also attach great importance to environmental protection and the preservation of the cultural heritage.  

1. We should promote education. 
The basic education in many Tibetan areas is rather weak, as a result, many children from the countryside can not continue their study when they finish with elementary school or junior high school. They have to go back home, and they become a burden to their parents.

When many school drop-outs go home, they can not work in the field like their peers since they cannot stand such physical labour. Then they will leave their home, and make a living on their own. There are many such incidents, but people in the education circle ignore this problem. Many drop-outs in countryside leave school not because they do not want to study hard, but because they do not have the condition and opportunity to pursue further study. Therefore, society should pay more attention to these children and provide more opportunity for them.

2. We should promote multi-variant tourism
Tibet has rich natural scenery and unique national culture, we should promote multi-variant tourism. Meanwhile, we should co-ordinate some important festivals with golden seasons of tourism, and doing so will be beneficial to the development of tourism. We should have such new tourism projects such as outdoor sports, mountain climbing and farms.

3. Exploit the rich mineral resources.

4. Process barley and other agricultural products, and develop them into green products.

The Future Land of Snow We all Look Forward to Seeing
We all look forward to see the Land of Snow to be well developed with advanced scientific technologies, free from superstition. We wish to see schools, factories, scientific research institutes, recreational facilities and hospitals all over the holy land. We will not find bars and tea houses there, neither will we see people idle away their time.

The youth will engage in scientific research, and will be far away from drugs and pleasure-seeking. We also wish to see vegetable and fruit farms.

By then, people yearn for Tibet not just to admire the natural sceneries and cultural relics, but they admire more the economic productivity, the living condition and the quality of service.

Translated from Tibetan.
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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

VOA: Video Testimony of Labrang monk Jigme

The video testimonies from Tibet of Jigme, a monk from Labrang Monastery, were first broadcast by Voice of America's Tibetan Service on 3rd September 2008. Following the broadcast, Jigme went into hiding and has not been heard of since. Jigme's story was reported in English media by Associated Press on September 14th 2008. The original broadcast was in Tibetan so for the benefit of those of you who can't understand Amdo dialect, here is an English translation courtesy of Voice of America.

A Voice from Tibet: VOA Tibetan service exclusive video interview (Translation by VOA)

Venerable Jigme, a monk from Labrang Monastery in Amdo (Ch: Gansu Province) speaks about his experience following the widespread protests that erupted throughout the Tibetan areas of China in March/April 2008

This translation of the 20 minute statement is accurate in content but is not a direct translation of every single phrase, word, and figure of speech. References to the identity of Chinese security and detention apparatuses are translated from colloquial Tibetan and may not be technically accurate.

This year, on the 15th day of the second Tibetan month (March 22, 2008), after an assembly was over at the monastery, I went to the market. There I sat at the side of a taxi-stand and got a shoe repaired. As I was returning to the monastery, I received a call on my mobile phone. I looked at the phone, but there was no number visible. Suddenly a white vehicle appeared, and stopped in front of me. Four soldiers arrested me and dragged me into the vehicle. When I looked back, I saw a nun. I shouted "Ani! Ani! [nun, nun!] several times and made sure she saw me getting arrested. Once in the vehicle, they covered my head with a black cloth and handcuffed me. Then with guns pointed at my head, and my body pressed down, they took me to the armed police guest house.

The guest house is at the back of the local police station. There they removed the cloth covering my head but kept the handcuffs on. Afterwards, they searched my body and took my phone, wallet and everything. I was put on a chair with my hands tied at the back. A young soldier pointed an automatic rifle at me and said in Chinese, "This is made to kill you, Ahlos (derogatory term used for Tibetans by some Chinese). You make one move, and I will definitely shoot and kill you with this gun. I will throw your corpse in the trash and nobody will ever know." When I heard this, I was not terrified by the gun pointed at my head but by the thought that this man is not only a soldier or security personnel, but also a law enforcement officer, and here he is pointing a gun at an ordinary citizen and uttering such words…[it made me very sad….] as if my heart was shattered in two.

This is the case of a powerful nationality harassing and oppressing a small nationality, a big nation making weapons to kill a small nationality; if they are doing such things at the lower levels, it goes without saying that they are doing worse things to us at higher levels. The way they oppress and murder Tibetans, and can utter such words while aiming guns [at us], stunned me. By telling us that Tibetans could be killed and our dead bodies dumped in the trash and that nobody would know - we are not even treated like dogs and pigs. If other people's dogs and pigs are killed, there will be somebody to claim them. Then why won't Tibetans be claimed after death? We are ordered not to claim our fellow Tibetans’ bodies even after death. At that time, I realized that there is no racial equality.

During the detention, some of the many questions they asked me were, "Did the Dalai Lama instigate you? Did the Dalai Lama ask you to carry out this looting, burning and destruction?". "How do you view the Dalai Lama? " As for me, I am a follower of Buddhism. The Dalai Lama is like my life, heart and soul. In that I am not alone. For all the six million Tibetans, the Dalai Lama is their spiritual refuge in this life as well as the next. The Dalai Lama is widely respected for his tremendous efforts made towards world peace. He is the champion of world peace. He has established a path of non-violence. I totally reject their accusation that the Dalai Lama has master-minded acts of looting, burning and destruction. The Dalai Lama can never encourage such things. Even an ordinary monk like myself cannot urge anybody to burn, loot and destroy.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is like the soul of the six million Tibetans. There is no way we can be parted from Him. As a Tibetan monk, historically, we have a teacher-disciple relationship. We must maintain this relationship. We have unwavering faith in the Dalai Lama. This was what I replied to the question of how I view the Dalai Lama.

After keeping us at the detention center for a few days, they took us to the jail. At the prison, the soldiers commanding us in Chinese ‘one, two, three’, as some of us could not understand Chinese, they scolded us - they would call us ‘animals', ‘fools’, and beat us with batons. When we asked why they are beating us, they reply, ‘you people cannot understand Chinese language’ and mock us. My question is: In the Charter and Constitution of the People's Republic of China, it is enshrined that, in the regional areas of different nationalities, the language of that particular nationality is to be used and that the regional nationality must be given the right to govern. Then why is that, in the Tibetan areas, instead of using Tibetan language, Tibetans are not only verbally abused as "animals" and "fools" but are physically beaten just because he does not understand the Chinese language?

There is no differentiation on the basis of one's actions or age. For instance, monks as young as fourteen and fifteen and as old as sixty and seventy year old were arrested. No difference is made whether they are involved in protests or not. We had no clothes on our backs nor shoes on our feet. Two monks would be tied together and put in the vehicle to be driven away. They are thrown in the vehicle like you would throw logs of wood. Even if some of them had their heads injured, and for some, their hands broken, they were all taken to the prison. Relatives or friends were not allowed to bring food, clothing or beddings. We had to huddle together to bear the cold. The reason why we were so severely beaten is solely because we are Tibetans. For that we feel extremely sad.

We were taken to a prison in Kachu [Linxia in Chinese]. All the prisoners there were Chinese and [Hui] Muslim Chinese. We were the only Tibetan prisoners. Everyday, with bare feet, we had to remove urine and excrement, and wash the floors. At the prison, we were forced to take off our monks’ robes and put on a layperson’s clothing. I am a Buddhist monk and it is humiliating to disrobe and put on a layman's clothes, and to be handcuffed and taken away, barefoot, in a vehicle. In the prison, the conditions were very poor - there was not enough to eat or drink and nothing to wear. There wasn't even a towel to clean the face.

I was kept there for one month during which time I was handcuffed in one position for many days and nights. During interrogations, I was accused of having contacts outside: with the Dalai Lama, Samdhong Rinpoche, and Ajia Rinpoche, and that I have to acknowledge that I have these outside contacts. Likewise, I was told that I have contacts inside with scholars and teachers. "You have been involved in activities and have led organizations. You have made calls to many outside provinces. What have you achieved from those? Where did you print the Tibetan flags? How many flags did you print? How many members are there in your group?" and "You have no choice but to accept these crimes". They would hang me up for several hours with my hands tied to a rope….. hanging from the ceiling and my feet above the ground. Then they would beat me on my face, chest, and back, with the full force of their fists. Finally, on one occasion, I had lost consciousness and was taken to a hospital. After I regained consciousness at the hospital, I was once again taken back to prison where they continued the practice of hanging me from the ceiling and beating me. As a result, I again lost conscious and then taken to the hospital a second time. Once I was beaten continuously for two days with nothing to eat nor a drop of water to drink. I suffered from pains on my abdomen and chest. The second time, I was unconscious for six days at the hospital, unable to open my eyes or speak a word.

In the end, when I was on the verge of dying, they handed me over to my family. At my release, my captors lied to the provincial authorities by telling them that that they had not beaten me. Also, they lied to my family members by telling them that they had not beaten me; they also made me put down my thumbprint (as a signature) on a document that said that I was not tortured. I had to stay for about twenty days at a hospital and spent twenty thousand Chinese yuan to get treatment.

On my return to the monastery, friends told me that 180 monks had been arrested. The monks had done nothing wrong. Our senior monk and the official lama (teacher) too were arrested. They were made to stand on the tip of their toes at night, and were beaten with the butts of guns on their back. The Chinese took pictures with their mobile phones as they were beating the monks on their necks.

I also found out that during the police and soldiers raiding the monastery, they stole religious statues, money, personal belongings and even foodstuff from the monastery and monks' private residences. It is apparent that the real looters and murderers are these soldiers of Chinese Communist Party. They engage in illegal acts and we are the ones who are arrested, beaten and tortured and killed.

Also, we are accused of aligning with the Dalai clique and instigating riots among the public. If there is real racial equality, freedom of expression and freedom of religion, then why are we not allowed to respect the figure for whom we have faith in our heart of hearts? Right in front of our eyes, they stamp with their feet on the picture of the Precious One [the Dalai Lama], break the picture frames with butts of guns, shred the pictures into pieces and burn them in the fire. We, being Tibetans and Buddhists, when we see the picture of our object of refuge being trodden under foot, and torn into pieces, we view these as irreparable acts. When Tibetans break a few windowpanes, they say that such acts caused hundreds of millions of Yuan worth of damage. How do you measure the damage caused to our hearts by seeing our most revered One's picture trampled under foot? The Chinese leadership says that the goal is to achieve a harmonious society, but at the same time continue to vilify the Dalai Lama, a figure that all Tibetans respect and honor as their spiritual head…..how can we begin to feel harmony when our values are denigrated and trodden on.

Monks are being beaten off and on all during this period. Not only that, monks who spoke to some reporters were beaten with batons and had their legs broken; on some, they used electric batons on their heads and in their mouths - the electric baton affected their brains and some have become disabled … sort of insane. We endured such torture. Now our main hope is that the international media and the United Nations' investigators come to Tibet and check on the real situation and then report on it after they assess their findings. This is our main hope.

The Chinese are telling us that Tibetans have done illegal things and are arresting and beating us, and even killing many people. Many people have fled to the mountains and dare not return to their homes and families. It will help if the world media see these things and report about them.

The Dalai Lama did not instigate us to do anything. His Holiness did not tell us to fight for independence. His Holiness never said anything of this sort. Many of us support the Dalai Lama's Middle Way approach and the process of solving Tibet's issue through peaceful dialogue. But we are sad about being extremely oppressed today. Today, I, as a witness to truth, am telling through the media, the story of Tibetans killed, undergoing torture in prisons, and about the countless who have been forced to flee to the mountains and are too afraid to return to their homes, so that the media can truthfully report on these situations. This is my hope.

Officers from the security office and secret service as well as work teams have visited my room in the monastery, and are keeping close watch on me. Even now here is one man purposely watching me. I am not allowed to go out, nor am I allowed to make phone calls. I have a thick copy of the Chinese Constitution to study; I am ordered to write a confession. While I am not physically in a prison, I have no freedom whatsoever.

These days there are a series of actions against us, not just in Labrang, not just in Amdo, but in Kham and central Tibet too. Many Tibetans are being killed, many oppressed and arrested. We heard that more than 200 Tibetans were killed and several thousand arrested. Still the beatings and arrests have not stopped. For us, access to news is blocked; we are not allowed to watch news or put up a satellite dish nor are we allowed to listen or watch news from the United States and other foreign countries. We are ordered to watch and listen to domestic broadcasts. We are told not to listen to foreigners nor to talk to them. As such, where is the freedom of expression? Where is the freedom of religion?

Tibetan people are undergoing all kinds of suffering. For me personally, I am a Buddhist monk at Labrang monastery. I was one of those arrested this year. I said this to the face of my captors: if you kill me, then that will be the end of it. But if I am able to go outside and get the opportunity, I will talk about the torture I went through; I will tell the people of the world as a truthful witness, about the sufferings undergone by friends and report these to the media.

Even when I was released, I was told not to tell that I was beaten; I was warned not to contact anyone outside. But I cannot just keep quiet about the tortures I went through, nor the suffering borne by friends. This is also my reason for telling you this today. Still there is a harsh crackdown taking place in Tibetan areas and restrictions on the movement of Tibetans.

These days, the authorities tell us to support the Olympic Games, but Tibetans around here are not even allowed to travel to Lanzhou, let alone go to Beijing to watch and support the games. We are not even allowed to go outside our own areas. Because of the Olympics, even all traditional festivals, celebrations and religious rituals have been banned.

There is a military presence everywhere. In the barn belonging to our monastery, they have made effigies out of straw and dressed them in Tibetan robes. The Chinese soldiers use them for doing bayonet practice. It seems that their enemy are the Tibetan people and the robe-wearing monks. Not all arrested Tibetans were involved in protests. Why are they stabbing their bayonets on the effigy with Tibetan dress as their military exercise? It is not just monks who are suffering as a result of the Chinese viewing Tibetans as their enemy…..even Tibetan staff members, students and the ordinary Tibetans…. all are suffering. This big government, big country, and big nationality is using weapons, tanks and cannons on a small, humble people such as the Tibetans. Thousands of soldiers are surrounding us. ‘Kill the Tibetans who are disobedient’, they order.

In this 21st century, the people of the world are walking on the path to world peace. The peace-loving people and the supporters of truth should expose China for blocking the media and restricting reporters from seeing what is going on inside Tibet. I would like the world’s press, the United Nations and human rights organizations to pay attention and find a solution to the current dire situation for the Tibetan people. You can pressure China to conduct meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama's representatives for a mutually beneficial solution to the Tibet-China issue. It is the hope and wish of the Tibetans inside Tibet to invite the Dalai Lama to Tibet. The Chinese Communist Party has stated that stability and unity are important goals for the nation. Now if both the Dalai Lama and the CCP work together to solve the Tibet-China issue through dialogue for the mutual benefit of both the Chinese and Tibetans, there is no reason why genuine and long lasting peace, stability and unity cannot be achieved.
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