This is Part 7 of a series of 8 Articles best read in conjunction.
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 8
A closer examination of the impact Tibetans experienced due to their encounter with the Han Chinese.
 Denigration and Vilification
An exhibition in the Potala “Wrath of the Serfs” depicted 106 clay statues in various situations of ‘horrors’ which the serfs purportedly had to endure.
This display of distortion and denigration made all manner of outrages claims, such as monks burying children alive in the foundations of new monasteries.
This exhibition was categorised into the sections:
“Serfs Rise in Struggle an Yearn for Liberation”
“Feudal Estate Owners’ Manors: Miserable Infernos on Earth”
“Lamaseries: Dark Man-Eating Dens”
“Local Reactionary Government of Tibet: Apparatus of Reactionary Rule”
The exhibition was required viewing by tourists for many years, even though it had the effect of eliciting incredulity and amusement, and exposing the Han Chinese as manipulators of the historical facts, rather than the Tibetans as the villains it attempted to portray, for it was so outrageously histrionic and melodramatic.
In 1963 the Chinese released the movie “Serf” which was shown all over China in an attempt to vilify and depict the old Tibetan society as cruel and backward, in an underlying theme almost beyond any credibility.
This had a profound impact on Han Chinese who, after millennia of such dearly nurtured attitudes, would have had very little good sense to question the portrayal of the Tibetans in such demeaning and condescending terms. This propaganda flick at the same time portrayed the PLA as compassionate and benevolent, who altruistically came to help the Tibetans to improve their lives, and even called the soldiers an army of ‘Bodhisattvas’.
This is a Buddhist term denoting a Being seeking Enlightenment and practising altruistic compassion and benevolence; a truly bizarre twist of duplicitous propaganda, given the CCP’s relentless demonising of the Buddhist religion and its adherents.
See Footnotes: i
But the systematic denigration and vilification is not just confined to media such as movies or exhibitions, it permeates every aspect of communication and also appears in subtler and more insidious forms: Novels, TV, History Books, the reporting of News, even Sitcoms, Plays, Textbooks, News Papers, in fact every aspect of communication is employed.
Scenes of burning shops and cars were shown ad nauseam around the clock, underscored with the most vitriolic and inflammatory commentary to instil utmost resentment and odium amongst their only real constituency, the Han, against the Tibetans. They were constantly portrayed as ungrateful and ‘biting the hand that’s lifting them out of their backwardness’, with most Han Chinese referring to Tibetans as “white-eyed wolves”, inferring their ungratefulness at all the ‘help they’ve received from the Han people’.
In the aftermath of the protests, the Han Chinese arrested several thousand Tibetans, perhaps as many as six thousand, of which some one thousand are still missing, with their whereabouts unknown. Reliable sources report them as being surreptitiously moved to Qinghai, a known centre for organ harvesting.
Read more on the Laogai system here.
Tibetans who have been arrested after the protests report an underlying attitude by the Han Chinese of “This is our chance” and “Settling accounts after autumn harvest” (qiu hou suan zhang)”; a mindset of overt and unmitigated racism, which goes some way towards explaining the gratuitous brutality routinely experienced by detainees at the hands of the Han Chinese.
At least ten, but possibly many more, extrajudicial killings have come to light, that is Tibetans who have been so severely tortured and beaten that they died as a result, either while in custody or after their release, in connection with arrests after the 2008 protests.
The Chinese have sentenced scores of Tibetans to death and many received sentences ranging from lengthy terms to life imprisonment.
In the case of two Tibetans condemned to death, Loyak and Lobsang Gyaltsen, Xinhua opined that these two “must be executed to allay the anger of the people”.
The Nangpa La Pass Incident on the 26th September 2006 is but a small illustration of the process of vilification and inversion of the facts by the Han Chinese. It is also a clear demonstration of the deep rooted racism, condescension and contempt the Han reserve for the Tibetans.
While the whole world was witness to the true events thanks to this video below, Xinhua, the mouthpiece of the Han CCP first denied any such incident occurred, then was forced to admit that ‘an incident’ had occurred, but claimed that the border guards first tried to persuade the Tibetans to return and go home, but then were attacked by them and so they had to defend themselves and in the process shot and wounded two people.
See Footnotes: ii
Everything Tibetans are allowed to hear, see or read is tightly controlled and prescribed by the Han Chinese.
No Tibetan Textbooks are allowed to originate from Tibetan authors, any that do exist in the Tibetan language are translations from Mandarin.
Newspapers are mainly translations of the CCP’s own mouthpiece, Xinhua, and according to reporters who have worked in the media in Tibet, ninety nine percent of what’s published is form such predetermined sources.
The strict control of all media in Tibet is run by Han Chinese, mostly CCP members, and heavy penalties are meted out to anyone transgressing the limits of censorship. One Tibetan journalist who escaped to India summed it up as follows: "We were all afraid. Anyone who defies the censors can expect the worst".
Recent convictions of Tibetans for ‘infringing’ CCP censorship in connection with the internet and writings alone include:
• Dasher, sentenced to 10 years for allegedly sending photos and reports of the 2008 riots via internet abroad.
• Kunga Tseyang, sentenced to 5 years for posting material on the internet.
• Kunchok Tsephel, sentenced to 15 years jail for allegedly divulging “state secrets”.
• Tseyang, sentenced to 5 years prison for allegedly writing “separatist” articles and posting them on the internet.
• Tsephel, a well know intellectual, writer and founder of the internet site Chodme was sentenced to 15 years jail for content on the site.
• Gyaltsing, sentenced to 3 years in prison for allegedly ‘communicating information to contacts outside China’, after he was intercepted downloading photos of the Dalai Lama.
• Norzin Wangmo, sentenced to 5 years in jail for talking about the situation in Tibet over the phone and internet.
• Migmar Dhondup, a passionate conservationist, sentenced to 14 years in prison for “espionage”. His charity work included working with impoverished communities, protecting the environment and encouraging Tibetans to preserve what’s left of Tibetan culture and language.
• Dhondup Wangchen, sentenced to 6 years imprisonment for his brave attempt of giving Tibetans a voice and letting them express their views on the Olympics in this short movie, "Leaving Fear Behind" which can be viewed here.
• Dolma Kyab, sentenced to ten and a half years in prison for alleged “espionage”. Dolma, a passionate teacher and writer wrote a book, unpublished of course, about Tibetan history, religion and geography.
In a letter smuggled out of prison he wrote: "Chinese officials think that what I wrote about nature and geography was also connected to Tibetan independence. This is the main reason of my conviction. But according to Chinese law, the book alone would not justify such a sentence. So they announced that I am guilty of the crime of espionage."
This is but a very small sample of the repression Tibetans face on a daily basis at the hands of the Han Chinese.
In all it is estimated that over 50 Tibetans were arrested and sentenced to lengthy prison terms just in connection with disseminating information about the 08 riots alone. But other activities such as downloading pictures of the Dalai Lama, posting Tibetan language poetry, blogging about life in Tibet, or just communicating with the outside world reaps Tibetans lengthy jail terms on the usual trumped up charges of “espionage” or “revealing state secrets”.
But thousands more Tibetans are being incarcerated, for exercising their constitutionally and UN Charter guaranteed rights of freedom of speech and expression, on such trumped up charges.
Most Tibetans imprisoned experience degrading treatment, severe beatings and torture on a routine basis and suffer extremely harsh conditions, affecting their physical and mental health as a consequence.
In addition to the heavily censored media content, the Han Chinese are jamming all broadcasts from outside the Han nation, such as Voice of Tibet (VOT), which is funded by Norwegian NGO’s, Voice of America (VOA), etc. violating UN resolutions and even its own Constitution by doing so.
The internet is also tightly controlled and monitored, every internet café gets visited every day and every pc scrutinised for content viewed over the internet, so that even in public access to the net Tibetans are sure to be surveyed at every moment of the day. It would be unthinkable for a Tibetan to attempt downloading such banned material as pictures of the Dalai Lama in his own home, as every connection is closely monitored and would lead to instant arrest.
In the latest twist of repressive measures, Tibetan internet café owners must install scanning soft and hardware and every user of the internet at publicly accessible points must swipe his ID card, and so have all his details and activities monitored and recorded immediately.
The Han Chinese have installed a CCTV surveillance system, SkyNet Project, all over Tibet to strictly monitor Tibetans in every public place, street corner, and alleyway, covering every village, town and city on the entire Tibetan plateau.
Han CCP propaganda has managed to turn their destruction and looting of Tibet into an act of benevolence and selfless munificence in the eyes of their Han constituency, and even the wider world at large, and the oppression and brutal subjugation of the Tibetan people into a ‘liberation and empowerment’.
As a result of such incessant propaganda and calculated denigrations, Han people view the Tibetans as ‘white-eyed wolves’, inferring that they are an ‘ungrateful bunch of howling wolves’, and don’t appreciate all the ‘selfless investments and aid’ the Han people have poured into Tibet.
The reality is that any investments made in Tibet are solely for the benefit of Han Settlers, the movement of their Military, the extraction of mineral wealth from gold to copper and many other mining activities, facilitating logging, the building of hydroelectric power stations, and in so claiming the country of Tibet for the Han Nation.
The looting of all the precious artefacts, silver and gold stolen in the fifties and sixties from the Tibetans alone amounts to many multiples of what the Han Chinese so conceitedly tout as having ‘invested’ in Tibet, alas not out of altruistic motives or to any benefit to the Tibetans, but for purely egocentric purposes.
But of course since then the country of Tibet has continually been ransacked for most of its ancient forests, mineral wealth, and today the rapacious looting and extraction continues at an ever accelerated pace.
■ Wei Jingshen, a well known Chinese dissident writes that when his parents learned of his girlfriend’s ethnicity, a Tibetan, they threatened to disown him, unless he immediately terminated this relationship. Although his parents never met any Tibetans, they thought that Tibetans were half human, half animal. This racist stereotype is farily typical amongst Han people, and is a result of a society which through the ages has unremittingly harboured such incongruous bigotry, and which under the CCP has further been thoroughly conditioned with relentless vilification and denigration of the Tibetan people.
This attitude towards the Tibetans is as ancient as it is contemporary, with writers through the ages portraying the Tibetan race in these condescending and denigrating terms; denying them any form of culture, learning, or even products of value to the superior Han.
Successive Ming Emperors sought to expand their influence over other territories by sinicizing bordering ‘barbarian’ races by way of converting them into some second rate honorary Han. This, they thought, could be accomplished by bestowing them with honorific titles, which they liberally issued to mostly low ranking lames. Most Tibetan lamas were invited by the Emperors for such purposes, however, many just simply ignored it, but lower ranking ones would often accept these invitations. But the real reason though they would make the long and arduous journey to the Ming court was that they would receive gifts from the Emperor, which they could sell at a respectable profit back in Tibet.
So for these lamas this was a lucrative enterprise, and a small price to pay for displaying some expedient deference to this foreign ruler.
These envoys in turn would also carry some gifts for the Emperor, which by CCP writers now is reinterpreted as ‘tributes’, however, this was just a reciprocal exchange, of gifts and honorific titles; customary at the time throughout Asia and a show of mutual respect.
However court chroniclers recorded that the Ming Emperor and his court held the view that these ‘barbarians’ in reality had nothing of value to offer to the Emperor, only curios, artefacts and handicraft for his amusement, despite them often being exquisitely crafted artefacts.
A clear indication that this was not a ‘tribute system’ as modern CCP writers would now have it, but a lucrative revenue racket for the Tibetan lamas, is that these envoys of lamaseries were so numerous that the court would issue an edict and restrict each monastery or Lama to one visit every three years.
■ A recent study of Tibetan refugees arriving in India by “BMC International Health and Human Rights” concluded that most of the refugees in the study had experienced torture.
With the most common torture techniques being:
Beatings (73%), electrical torture (43%), being forced to provide blood (19%), and being kept naked (25%).
These refugees also were further traumatised by sleep deprivation (36%), witnessing murder (37%), kidnapping of family and friends (37%), and disappearances of family and friends (13%).
They conclude as follows:
“Our findings demonstrate that torture is commonly reported amongst Tibetan refugees, and that those who have experienced torture often suffer significant psychological effects.”
This is Part 7 of a series of 8 Articles best read in conjunction.
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 8