Much has been said, written and featured of the horrendous tragedy visited upon Tibet and its peaceful people that the whole world is aware of their plight and as was witnessed during the passing of the Olympic Flame through so many countries of the world, the poor Chinese athletes were subjected to ridicule, showered with abuse and in some cases manhandled too because of everyone’s fury over the ill treatment of Tibet and its people, all because of their government and its policies. It was a travesty of justice for China to have been awarded the hosting of the 2008 Olympic Games as long as it was ruled by the despots in Beijing. We shall dwell on just some salient points with the intention of enlightening people.
Were ever populated a more peaceful, compassionate society on earth, in absolute harmony with itself and others, Tibet would be accorded that unique distinction. This society of Tibetans with their Buddhist belief is in total communion with their religion, their way of peaceful interdependence and non violent way of life. Ever since China’s invasion and subsequent occupation of Tibet in 1949/50, a culture and way of life is being deliberately extinguished. Thousands of Buddhist monasteries have been destroyed, their temples ransacked and burnt. Their ancient manuscripts, their invaluable religious books, carefully preserved over the centuries, have literally been consigned to the flames. Hundreds of thousands of inhabitants perished and tens of thousands more were detained and rigorous torture is routinely visited upon them, be it monks or nuns. The resettling of the Han population by the communists has marginalized the Tibetans and today they are in a minority even in their own capital, Lhasa. Their plight is similar to that of the Uighurs in East Turkmenistan (East Turkistan) and the Mongolians in Inner Mongolia.
The pattern of exploitation of Tibet’s natural resources, especially the enormous storehouse of fresh water, believed to be the world’s largest, has attracted the avarice of the communists in Beijing. Headwaters of many of the rivers that flow into India and other South East Asian nations are the lifeblood of those countries. Add in the fact, that by the year 2030, China’s need for water is expected to fall short by 25% (and even today about 400 of cities in China face acute water shortage) thus one need not possess a fertile imagination to realize the political might China would accrue over these countries were it to control the flow of water in the highlands. The difference between the tragic plight of the Tibetans and the other persecuted minorities is that Tibetans are a very passive society. Only when their suffering becomes unbearable do they resort to violence albeit mildly. Often, the monks commit suicide through self immolation as a manner of protest as has been happening recently. It is said that the worst character and sheer bestiality of a man is revealed when he violently crushes a fellow man who is steeped in the path of non violence and compassion. The communists have revealed their true nature by wiping out tens of millions of their countrymen and others during their purges attempting to stifle dissent.
From 1950 till 1959, the Dalai Lama and his followers did their best to peacefully negotiate with the rulers in Beijing but could not make them see reason. Used as they are in their ways of belligerence and aggression, the communists stepped up their efforts in cracking down, which led to a failed uprising. In the ensuing slaughter and malicious crackdown, history would repeat itself decades later not only in Tibet but also in East Turkmenistan and Inner Mongolia, the Tibetans were suppressed and the Dalai Lama and some of his followers fled to India. India, to its credit, magnanimously granted them asylum in Dharmashala in North India. Three years later in 1962, an unforgiving and vengeful China invaded India and annexed large chunks of its territory. This was done in total deceit and, aided in part by the sheer incompetence of India’s ruling elite which till then was lecturing the rest of the world on morality and non violence. In recognition of their folly, the Indian government allowed the Dalai Lama and his followers a freer hand to administer a government in exile.
All these events and their ramifications, have made the ruling communists very nervous of their future. So much so, they perennially label the Dalai Lama as an enemy of the state and accuse him of being a splitist (trying to split their enlarged state). In reality, the holy soul that he is, is merely asking for more autonomy, more freedom for his people to practice their religion peacefully and maintain their culture and tradition. It has become a standard occurrence for China to protest up until the day before a U.S. president meets with the Dalai Lama in the White House, regardless of how informal or low key the Americans try to portray the event so as not to offend China, which has now become their unscrupulous banker.
In this context, mention must be made of the fact that the previous president, George W. Bush, to his everlasting credit., regardless of the way his critics maligned, him brushed aside such pandering concerns when he presented the country’s highest civilian award bestowed by Congress on the Dalai Lama.
Sometime back, the world watched with awe when the world’s highest railway was built by China linking Beijing to Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, yet it was not meant to benefit Tibet and its people, but solely for an expansion and resettling of Chinese migrants. Above all, to devastatingly exploit the region’s natural resources, mindless of the tremendous ecological damage, the slow disappearance of the Tibetans homeland, and their peaceful nomadic way of life. Not so different from the poor Mongolians in Inner Mongolia. Finally, the expansion of the railway is meant to accelerate the expanded military presence, to quell any future uprisings, and to facilitate an easy strike into India.
The Dalai Lama in his utter frustration lashed out last year when he accused China of trying to annihilate Buddhism. Try as he might to reach a compromise over Tibet, China has turned a deaf ear and does all it can with its huge economic clout to desist other countries from even meeting with the Dalai Lama, let alone supporting him and his followers.
Hollywood luminaries led by Richard Gere, Harrison Ford, Meg Ryan, Barbra Streisand, Steven Seagal and many others have showcased the tragedy of the Tibetans and they are to be eternally thanked and remembered for their conviction. Yet the rest of the world needs to do more too. Richard Gere was quite moved when he came upon paintings of Buddhist nuns being tortured by the Chinese authorities.
An analogy can be drawn with the security services of China harshly confronting peaceful, non violent Buddhist monks and nuns in their processions to angry policemen violently putting down marching priests and nuns. If the latter doubtlessly enrages the Christian world with calls for retribution and sanctions etc. the same cannot be said of nations attitudes to the ruthless Chinese communists. Not too many people want to forcefully advocate their views and confront the ruling despots of China. History will one day fault the world for not having exerted more pressure on the communists in China for its misdeeds in Tibet. People wonder who the evil regime in Beijing and its acolytes were brought into this world by. Surely, not God!
While visiting a Buddhist temple, out of nowhere flew in a dove from outside and walked nonchalantly inside oblivious of people. We have included that picture in this section. It symbolizes the nature of the
dove and the Buddhists in conjunction with harmony.