Dharamsala is where Tibetan refugees are able to live and practice their culture freely, without Chinese oppression. Therefore, the town is a mix of Indian and Tibetan people. You can find monks, beggars, Indian artisans, Tibetan artisans, many Westerners, and natural healing medicines here. They work too! Its a very interesting place. Anyway, I wrote about the Tibetan thing because we went to see a documentary the other night on the Tibetan struggle in China right now and it made a huge impact on me. This is what I wrote in my journal entry that night, so I thought I would share it with you all. Please keep in mind that this in no way reflects the Chinese people as a whole nor represents my view of Chinese people. This is the government we’re talking about. Much different than the general public who lives there. Just the corrupt government:
Resources, really? Is that the most viable reason China could come up with to occupy Tibet? because they want their resources? No, no. There’s no reason worthy or legitimate enough to ever oppress, detain, murder, or strip the culture of any human being. ever. At least 6 million Tibetans have lost their identity, freedom to choose anything, and ability to have a family of more than three persons who are able to live free of political , religious and cultural prosecution. They live in a cultural genocide. Of the 5 million in Tibet who have not mysteriously disappeared, fled the country or have been killed, not one Tibetan is able to have freedom of the Self. they are not able to choose who they are, wish to be, or what they believe in. Nor can they give their children (or one child) the option to grow up discovering and interpreting the world as they wish. They are controlled, all of them, by powerful, oppressive tyrants who force order and obedience to their liking.
No one will ever know, however, how suffering and constant fear of waking up surviving through each day fell like. No one will ever know that Tibetans are arrested, tortured with iron rids and wet electrical prods for saying “free Tibet” of speaking to foreigners about their situation. No one will ever know the atrocities the Chinese government has committed against nomadic and urban Tibetans. Until you are able to do research and be a conscious member of our worldly society, I will inform you of what I know so far:
-There is 1 Chinese soldier to every 15-20 Tibetans on the street.
-In one uprising (non-violent on the Tibetan side), over 1– Tibetans were gunned down.
-Chinese torture methods include:
*electrocution (wet and dry)
*hanging from ceiling in handcuffs until hands rip off (eventually leads to death from blood loss)
*beatings with iron rods
*hanging from ceiling in cuffs with toes touching the floor as to not let the person die from severed limbs, but to force them to endure pain beyond a reason for living
*and any other methods which are inhumane, unjust, and cause a lifetime of psychological trauma
-Chinese government use Tibetans as factory workers to manufacture goods such as toy fish. If they do not meet their quota, they are beaten and tortured.
-Six students in Lhasa University were detained and haven’t been seen since for passing out pro-Tibet fliers on campus.
-It is against the law to possess a Tibetan flag or photo of the Dalai Lama. I think we are all starting to understand what the punishment of that would be….
-Nomadic herders of the Tibetan grasslands have been relocated to camps (or reservations) and are not able to ever return to their native land or lifestyle. Without this ability to live as they have for generations and be confined to a smaller plot of land, means that resources are limited, everyone is starving and poor. There are no medical clinics or schools set up for them and people’s desperation has lead to alcoholism and stealing. Let’s see, the government takes land away from natives in order to hoard the resources and confine them to reservations for which family life turns into harsh survival and they suffer from delinquency and social marginalization. This situation reminds me of exactly what happened (and is happening) in our country with our Natives. Cultural Genocide. It is an academic term used in Ethnic Studies courses (and hopefully more) in universities to describe Indigenous struggle and persecution around the world. It is taking a race, or Peoples, and killing them at the roots. Basically and elimination of a culture. The most important things which define the People is terminated. For example, their land, the right to be autonomous beings, right to choose what to believe in and practice it, right to have individuality, the right to have your own form of government and economic policies, etc. The list could go on forever. Basically, the right to Be. The scariest part is when actually human lives are taken or preemptively discontinued in order to eliminate a culture. Let me go into more detail.
Tibetans are forced to abide to China’s One Child Policy. There is an unattainable fee if a woman has more than one child and if she can not pay it, she is forced to have her Fallopian tubes ripped from their roots. No drugs, anesthesia, or rehab (psychological and physical) is given and some women are left handicapped or permanently injured, not to mention, emotionally scared. If a woman gets pregnant and the government finds out, a forced abortion will be inflicted on them which could lead to dangerous consequences. The (not so funny) thing is, the Chinese government says this policy doesn’t apply to Tibetans. This obviously is not true since the Chinese government’s main objective is to assimilate the Tibetan people and culture into theirs and to get their resources. Attaining all the land would be easier without the Tibetans in their way. Sounds like what happened/s with our Natives!
The forced assimilation and elimination of a People and living in daily terror are the main reasons Tibetans risk their lives and their family’s to flee Tibet. They also want to spread the word to the world of their situation since they have no voice inside Tibet. It is worth dying to many to educate the world on what’s actually happening in Tibet, not what the Chinese governments tricks us into thinking. Until their holy leader, the Dalai Lama, their land, culture, and freedom are returned, the exodus across a treacherous 1-3 month journey will continue. It is worth trekking through 20,000 foot peaks with the possibility of being shot by Chinese military hidden on the ridges to live a more liberated life and share the stories of their current situation. Some refugees get frostbite so bad that they must amputate feet and hands. Food is limited and many can only sneak through with the help of an expensive guide (like Mexican “coyotes”) or lucky help from someone who supports them. Some spend many years salaries to do this trip.
The struggle Tibetan people endure to survive, much less communicate to the outside world, is a violation of human rights everyone must be aware of. The Chinese government creates a facade of reciprocity and cooperation between the Tibetans and Chinese government, when in reality they pay off (big time) high-end monks to stay quiet and create human rights laws which they do not follow. They corrupt at all levels. Any media (people and records) which has tried to document then truth has either “disappeared” or escaped with luck. The misrepresentation of the Tibetan-Chinese relationship is costing Tibetans peace and freedom, two important concepts of their identity. It is also hiding the fact that the nomads are not happy in their new “homes” and are grieving at the dams in their rivers and soon-to-be drilling of their land. I only assume the latter because there is 14 trillion dollars worth of oil on Tibetan land. The Chinese government pays compensation to these people for the land they take from them, but make it illegal to refuse the bribe. Is that forced corruption? Either way, they are screwed. Something must be done to stop the greed that overlooks the basic human elements of compassion, tolerance, and respect. Resources do not justify the elimination of a culture, socially, politically and physically. Since when does wealth and power outweigh the value of a human life and their right to live?
“Love through kindness is my religion”
-His Holiness, the Dalai Lama