By Thupten Tendar
First of all, thanks to Ryan Seals for reading the wonderful article on Tibet and Paige Wilson for being a peaceful messenger and supporter for the truth. As a Tibetan refugee, I’d like to give my perspective on our dying nation.
Historically speaking, Tibet was led by kings, lamas and others based on the law of “Ten Virtues” and the 16 human principles, introduced by King Songtsan Gampo in the seventh century. I am not claiming that Tibet, prior to 1950s, was free of any conflict. No part of our world was.
However, the ruling communist party has afflicted the brain of many non-Tibetans with its baseless propaganda by teaching fabricated history classes. So I, being a refugee with a parent who survived our genocide and diaspora, have a personal responsibility to make people understand Tibet properly.
Upon the Chinese takeover, thousands of monks, including my own uncle in Kham, were dragged off their meditation cushions and beheaded for nothing else than being a monk.
The only allegation Mao Tse-Tung and his army made against these men was that they were monks practicing their religion, which the communists believe is poison to a society.
The lay communities in Tibet pay their highest respect to the ordained people. They consider it a great honor for their son or daughter to join a monastery or nunnery because of their own faith. They rejoice in the spiritual community.
Anybody who tries to break this relationship doesn’t understand Tibet and the Tibetan spirit properly.
My mother ran into exile with her mother and two sisters. She barely made it to India. She was separated from her mother and sisters, and to this day has never heard from them again.
They might have been killed by the so-called liberators, buried under snow or dead of hunger. More than one million Tibetans were heartlessly killed by those who some people still claim were bringing liberation and prosperity to Tibet.
If the real purpose of their invasion is for development of Tibet, then why did they divide it into many new parts and rename them in Chinese? Why did they destroy the Tibetan ecology, which caused deadly floods in China? Why do they choose their own version of the Panchen Lama and claim the right to select the future reincarnations of Tibetan lamas — even as they decry religion? Why do they build prisons and military bases rather than hospitals and schools?
How can the words “freedom and democracy” appearing on Google, Yahoo and other websites hamper their mission development? Why are they afraid of dialogue with a figure of peace? Is the free media really harmful to growth and modernization?
I don’t hate China. I appreciate most of my Chinese brothers and sisters for being nothing but warmhearted, courageous and compassionate toward me. But the Chinese occupation of Tibet was the first time in more than 2,000 years of Tibetan history that so many people were massacred in the region.
Hundreds of thousands of Tibetans had to flee their homeland to become refugees. Our basic human rights were snatched away.
They say communism brought peace and prosperity to Tibet. Sorry, we don’t need any such blessings!
Thupten Tendar is from Berkeley, Calif. He is currently traveling with the Drepung Loseling Monastery’s Mystical Arts of Tibet tour.