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Chinese writer refutes Beijing's White Paper on Tibetan culture
Phayul[Tuesday, March 03, 2009 00:09]
Something worse than cultural genocide is taking place in Tibet under China, says Canada-based Chinese writer who once worked in Tibet as an editor of a Chinese language magazine

By Phurbu Thinley

Dharamsala, March 3: Not only cultural genocide is taking place in Tibet, what China is doing there is causing rampant and irreparable damage to Tibet’s delicate environment that holds Tibetan people’s unique way of life, according to a Canada-based Han Chinese writer.

“Chinese government has not only destroyed thousands of centuries-old Buddhist monasteries and interfered in their practices; it is now causing rampant destruction to Tibet’s fragile eco-system thereby endangering the very setup of the Tibetan people’s traditional and cultural way of life,” said Ms Zhu Rui, who at one time worked in Tibet as an editor of a Chinese language magazine for Beijing Government.

“Thousands of Tibetan nomadic tribes are already being forced to resettle into permanent houses under state-sponsored program to make way for China’s ambitions and self-fulfilling interests,” she said.

“China’s irresponsible actions in Tibet are silently but fast eroding Tibetan people’s rich cultural values,” Zhu added.

Zhu was speaking at a press conference on Saturday where she launched a book titled - “Response to White Paper.”

On September 25, 2008, months after massive unrest broke out in Tibet, China issued a white paper on “Protection and Development of Tibetan Culture”. China maintained that the white paper was launched to “acquaint the world with its efforts on the protection and development of Tibetan culture” and to refute “the charge of Cultural genocide in Tibet.”

The exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama has in recent time occasionally raised strong concerns about a cultural genocide taking place in his Himalayan homeland.

The white paper, according to a report by Chinese State news agency Xinhua, refuted the charge of ‘cultural genocide’ in Tibet as a lie “fabricated by the 14th Dalai Lama and his cohorts,” and exposed the “deceptive nature of the cultural autonomy they clamour for”.

“The 14th Dalai Lama and his clique fled abroad nearly half a century ago, and have never made any efforts for or contributions to the protection and development of Tibetan culture," the white paper said.

Published by the Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA), Zhu’s book is written in Chinese language and consists of two parts. While the first part, according to TWA, speaks on the preservation of Tibetan culture, the establishment of democracy, the development of its system of education, the renaissance of Tibetan medicine, Tibetan architecture and the arts in the exile Tibetan community; the second part is about Tibet’s contribution to human society, including its classical texts and their commentaries.

“Zhu’s ‘Response to the White Paper’ is essentially a humble dedication to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to all the Tibetans in suffering,” said Dr B Tsering, the president of the women’s association based in Dharamsala.

“The author hopes that in writing about these things, the people of all nationalities, especially the Chinese (Han) people will understand His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s contribution to both Tibetan culture and the world at large,” Tsering added.

Describing the book as an unprecedented and much ground-working research work of a Chinese writer, TWA hopes it could set the “benchmark to the Chinese people’s penitence to the Tibetan National.” The book contains the detailed descriptions of the miracles achieved in exile under the indomitable leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tsering remarked.

Zhu Rui was born in northeastern China and is now based in Canada. Prior to that she lived and worked in Tibet from 1998 to 2001. While in Tibet she worked as the editor of the official Chinese language magazine “Tibetan Literature”.

In Tibet, Zhu also worked sided by side in the same office with eminent Tibetan writer activist Woeser, who is now self-exiled in Beijing after authorities found that her works contained sympathetic references to the Dalai Lama.

In her recent article, Zhu, who once used to zealously vilify the Dalai Lama as "a flayer of human skin, a demon who picked flesh from human bones", said her whole attitude towards Tibetan people and their exiled leader the Dalai Lama changed after she chanced upon an opportunity to travel to Tibet and came across a seemingly serene and peaceful looking image of the Dalai Lama.

Coming to Dharamsala to work on her latest book, Zhu said, she was overwhelmingly impressed after she observed the incredible efforts made by Dalai Lama in preserving and developing Tibetan cultural values and at the same time successfully introducing and promoting vibrant democracy, including the freedom of the media in the exile Tibetan community.

The exile community has not only set up educational, monastic and cultural centres to preserve their cultural identity, which is endangered in their homeland, but is effectively promoted around the world, Zhu said.

According to her, international community is inspired by the contribution made by the Dalai Lama and Tibetan people to the world in promoting human values. “Numerous international honour and awards conferred on the Dalai Lama are natural testimony to this,” Zhu said.

Such progresses are entirely contrary to what China is accusing the Dalai Lama and his groups of doing otherwise in the so-called white paper, Zhu said at the press conference.

When she first learnt of the white paper last year, Zhu said she at first felt relieved thinking that China had finally realized the need to preserve and sincerely promote Tibetan culture from its side.

But looking into the paper in more detail, Zhu said, she found that the document was nothing more than a mere propaganda work of the Chinese government to fulfill its own ulterior motive as usual.

Hence, she said, she had wanted to file a fitting and timely response to the white paper. The mission brought her to India. Over a period of Time, Zhu says she interacted extensively with numerous prominent and common Tibetan exiles, and those who are newly arrived in India after escaping from Tibet.

Zhu says her ‘Response to the White Paper’ is the result of her first-hand experience of working in Tibet for Chinese government accompanied with matching response she received from her Tibetan interviewees in exile.

Zhu now says she remains fully convinced when she said, “what China is doing in Tibet is far worse than the severe accusations and defamations that it has labeled against the Dalai Lama and exile Tibetans in the white paper.”

She says her book is an effort to reach out to her Chinese brethrens, who, she says, largely remain ignorant of the truths about Tibet.

In doing so, Zhu says she is not bothered by numerous online attacks posted against her by Chinese bloggers, often calling her a “traitor”.

“Many of these bloggers are either who are one-sidedly following the Chinese Communist party’s official line or others who are not aware of the real issue of Tibet,” Zhu said.

Meanwhile, Zhu hopes Tibetans will remain intact with their cultural identity and further continue to strengthen ways to preserve it and make greater strides in the field of education. This, she feels, will prove productive for Tibetans in their struggle for freedom in the long run.

“And all I can do is to keep on writing more and more to help Chinese to learn and better understand about Tibet and its rich and valuable cultural traditions,” Zhu said.

After the March 2008 unrest in Tibet, Zhu published many articles on the internet, which, among others, include: "Why Tibetans want to protest", "The Army, Machine Guns and Bullet, not control the Hearts of Tibetans", "Invite the Dalai Lama", "Write to Chinese", "Hope of Tibet" and "Hope the One in Power Doesn't Miss the Opportunity".
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