Tibetan experiences in Tibet, China and India

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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Zhen Li » Mon May 12, 2014 7:38 am

JKhedrup wrote:However when a nuanced picture is brought in, or other issues, we are accused of derailing the thread. THis is hilarious, because actually abuse was not the OT of the thread anyways. Also the way these sad issues are used to paint a caricature of the "backward Tibetans". A type of racism that is somehow not seen by some people posting here who campaigned vigorously against racism in other threads.

It is unfair and indeed false to claim that Indrajala is perpetuating racist views. The idea that Tibetans are backwards isn't racist, but saying that Sino-Tibetan or Mongoloids are genetically inferior and therefore backwards is. Tibet clearly was backwards relative to the rest of the world, and to claim that is to make an economic, cultural and social claim completely divorced from the strands of DNA the Tibetans are made up of.
JKhedrup wrote:What is frustrating is that Rory and others dismiss my opinions, formed by years of experience including learning several Tibetan dialects, in favour of the "information" of someone who doesn't speak Tibetan and has very little actual experience with the tradition.

I'm not sure I saw this happening. I don't recall Indrajala claiming that what you said was dismissable. To accept that what you say is true, but still push a little further on one side of an argument (by saying more investigation needs to be done) isn't to dismiss what you say. Indeed Tibetan organisations are doing stuff. I personally think it's completely justifiable for people to believe more should be done. It probably isn't justifiable for people to claim nothing should be done - unless they know that the claims of abuse are false, which I don't believe anyone has done.

Also, everyone's own experience is biased - it's a truism obviously. At the same time, every nearly identical experience is biased by one's own thoughts. Someone who has the exact same experience as you may come out with very different picture of what is going on. Some people bend a little more to a permissive side on some issues, and a reserved side on others, they may not always be permissive, or always be reserved. Others may often always be permissive, or always be reserved. People's responses also may be influenced by their moods, whether they had a good or bad day, whether they have energy or not. So people naturally are going to disagree. I wouldn't take offence, and I wouldn't take it personally, unless it is personal, in which case a request for apology is appropriate.
JKhedrup wrote:Which could be a wonderful thing from all of the minorities in China as well as the Han people. A country no longer under the iron shackles of a corrupt and cruel "communist" (now Totalitarian-Capitalist hybrid) party. I don't think this would be a bad thing at all. For both Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism, actually, I think it would be a great thing.

It could also result in more suffering. Stability is a good thing. If things change, it is probably preferable for it to be in a stable manner. Twenty years of no riots or uprisings in Tibet, and no terrorist attacks from Xingjiang, are probably more likely to produce prosperity and happiness for both of those countries than a rebellion for independence. If these communities show that they are harmless, there'd be no reason for any repression.
Indrajala wrote:It isn't the party so much as how the Chinese state operates and always has. China is a despotic bureaucracy as it always has been. The nationalists in Taiwan were the same way, though they allowed democracy in the late 20th century basically to secure international support and legitimacy for their fledgling country. I imagine the Americans also instructed them to do so as the age of supporting dictators had come to an end.

And Mao was dead, the cold war was over. There was no longer a risk of a communist infiltration, which was a genuine possibility.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Indrajala » Mon May 12, 2014 7:43 am

JKhedrup wrote:And I think it worked out well for Taiwan in the end. They seem to function rather well as an independent, democratic country.


They're a client state of the US, which utilizes the threat of atomic weapons and conventional warfare plus other violent means to secure itself and its client states.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Indrajala » Mon May 12, 2014 7:56 am

Zhen Li wrote: If these communities show that they are harmless, there'd be no reason for any repression.


If Tibetans had access to training and weapons, we might assume some would in fact use them against the powers that be in Tibet, which would only destabilize things and probably produce an ever worse situation.

There's also the fact that India would probably help them if it was politically feasible, though conversely China could support insurgencies in India and therefore both sides don't go down that route.

I think Tibetans would be better off cooperating with Beijing. Acts of defiance, talk of independence and so on just provoke the dragon. I've spoken to some Tibetans from Dharamshala and they have these passive aggressive programs which they try to get Tibetans in Tibet to emulate, like having a day where everyone wears Tibetan clothes to work. That might sound harmless, but the Chinese authorities will see it as an act of threatening defiance. To provoke them in such a way is unwise.

It isn't fair, but such is the situation.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby JKhedrup » Mon May 12, 2014 7:59 am

I've spoken to some Tibetans from Dharamshala and they have these passive aggressive programs which they try to get Tibetans in Tibet to emulate, like having a day where everyone wears Tibetan clothes to work.


What you call passive-aggressive Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela called civil disobedience.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Indrajala » Mon May 12, 2014 8:09 am

JKhedrup wrote:It is simplistic to say that racism is only looking down on people because of their genetics.


The pejorative 'racist' is tossed around so much these days that it has become meaningless. When a white man criticizes an Asian religion he's often called racist. How exactly does that work when a religion is by no means bound to race? Just one example.


It widely considered racism to look down on people's culture and way of life.


Culture is not race. Therefore 'racism' is inapplicable.


Which I think Ven. I has done with both Indians and Tibetans. If someone here described other cultures rather than Tibetans as "backward" they would be called racist and in far less polite and subdued language than I have used- look at some of the other threads. How do you think people would react if someone called native American culture backward?


Not all cultures are equal in all aspects. Indians don't seem to mind wild pigs running around eating human feces (half a billion people have no access to toilets in India), which I consider quite backwards and uncivilized. How does that make me racist?


The Western Industrial model has led to material comforts but an unsustainable lifestyle for the planet.


Yes and no. Humans like any other species use energy when it is available. If the Chinese or Arabs had figured out how to use fossil fuels in the way Europeans initially had, they would have largely gone the same way with them as the west did.

You'll notice just about everyone else in the world has or is trying to industrialize as best they can. This is logical, too, because you need industrial power to secure military power against your enemies.



"Backward" traditional societies were far more sustainable and in harmony with the environment. The Tibetan plateau was almost like a wilderness reserve until the PRC came and began their program of mining and pillaging.


If Tibet was an independent country, what makes you think they wouldn't have industrialized on their own accord, complete with mining operations?
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Indrajala » Mon May 12, 2014 8:10 am

JKhedrup wrote:
I've spoken to some Tibetans from Dharamshala and they have these passive aggressive programs which they try to get Tibetans in Tibet to emulate, like having a day where everyone wears Tibetan clothes to work.


What you call passive-aggressive Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela called civil disobedience.


The difference is that the Chinese are quite willing to use lethal force where necessary to neutralize what they perceive of as threats, and not apologize for any of it.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby JKhedrup » Mon May 12, 2014 8:13 am

Thus people should not be compelled to civil disobedience.
But if of their own free will they choose it, despite even more overwhelming odds than for example Rosa Parks faced, why are they any less worthy of respect?

Twenty years of no riots or uprisings in Tibet, and no terrorist attacks from Xingjiang, are probably more likely to produce prosperity and happiness for both of those countries than a rebellion for independence. If these communities show that they are harmless, there'd be no reason for any repression.


Oh naieve the above statement is. Like saying the Jews wouldn't have suffered the holocaust if only they'd done as they were told. And to equate communities freedom to make their own decisions as a "reason for oppression".

If we were talking about any group other than Tibetans the politically correct brigade would have brought down its iron first 5 pages ago in this thread.
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Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Indrajala » Mon May 12, 2014 8:18 am

JKhedrup wrote:Just like Native Canadians would be better brought up in residential schools rather than learning their traditional ways? Or Australian Aboriginees? How is your statement any different than saying something like that?


Canada is a liberal democracy. China is not.

You can protest and demand compensation from the Canadian government. You can't really do that with the Chinese state and expect to be successful.

You need to basically work with your circumstances.

And rory has a point: is it better to be poor and suffering tuberculosis in India as a Tibetan refugee, or getting an education and medical care in China?



Thus people should not be compelled to civil disobedience.
But if of their own free will they choose it, despite even more overwhelming odds than for example Rosa Parks faced, why are they any less worthy of respect?


I'm just saying people should be realistic. China will not bend and they have a monopoly on violence plus all the guns. They also don't need to bow to any international pressure, unlike what happened in Africa in past decades.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby JKhedrup » Mon May 12, 2014 8:24 am

And rory has a point: is it better to be poor and suffering tuberculosis in India as a Tibetan refugee, or getting an education and medical care in China?


Actually the Tibetan communities in India recently won a prize for their amazing project to deal with TB in their settlements, a prize that was quashed because of PRC interference.http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB1 ... 0258410400

Also, medical care in China is prohibitively expensive. Despite being a socialist country, it makes people pay for healthcare just like in America. Good quality hospitals are probably financially out of reach for most Tibetans.
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Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby smcj » Mon May 12, 2014 9:12 am

...is it better to be poor and suffering tuberculosis in India as a Tibetan refugee, or getting an education and medical care in China?

In Old Tibet they made a lot of effort to keep people from trying to come in. In the PRC-Tibet they have to make a lot of effort to keep people from trying to get out.

So you tell me.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby kirtu » Mon May 12, 2014 9:51 am

Indrajala wrote:
JKhedrup wrote:Yes the poor PRC leadership, they're actually good people.


If you believe in compassion, you'd give them the benefit of the doubt and maybe ascertain what their mentality generally is. They also have plenty of enemies and consequently a lot of propaganda directed against them.


What actual enemies do the PRC have? The projection of enemies is always exaggerated and is often just a fearful projection to start with (Israel-Palestine is a good example in this regard - both sides have reasons to be mistrustful and fearful of the other but one side has an overwhelming advantage [since 1949] but eventually both must live in peace).

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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Indrajala » Mon May 12, 2014 10:18 am

kirtu wrote:What actual enemies do the PRC have?


India and the US.

India is not friends with China. Economically there might be trade, but militarily and politically it is different. Every few months Chinese troops cross the border up in Ladakh and the Indians march up there to greet them. It is far more severe than this though. If you want to get a perspective look at this forum:

http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/china/

Also, China has developed a high-speed high-altitude missile designed to take out aircraft carriers.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Indrajala » Mon May 12, 2014 10:30 am

JKhedrup wrote:Also, medical care in China is prohibitively expensive. Despite being a socialist country, it makes people pay for healthcare just like in America. Good quality hospitals are probably financially out of reach for most Tibetans.


China has a much much higher standard of living than India. In fact they're trying to implement universal healthcare:

    The Chinese government recently declared the pursuit of “Healthy China 2020,” a program to provide universal healthcare access and treatment for all of China by the year 2020, mostly through revised policies in nutrition, agriculture, food, and social marketing.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthcare_reform_in_China" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

In China even if you're uneducated you still have the option of a regular hourly wage job in urban and semi-urban areas, which cannot always be said in most of India. Tibetan youth here in Dharamsala don't make much money, even the educated ones. I don't imagine Manju Katilla or Kathmandu is that much better.

Raising your kids as a refugee in India must be rough unless you're rich or have a lot of family support.

You might argue that here they can at least preserve their culture. Well, you want to see your kids die from dengue or something, or look forward to a life of poverty? I know rural China isn't the greatest place to live either, but things are at least improving there rapidly. The Chinese state actually has a plan and is implementing it, which can't be said of India which can't even build toilets for most people.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby JKhedrup » Mon May 12, 2014 10:44 am

Trying to promote healthcare access? I thought China was socialist.

And if you'd bothered to read the link I posted above, you would see TB has been nearly eradicated in the Tibetan communities of India.


You might argue that here they can at least preserve their culture. Well, you want to see your kids die from tuberculosis or dengue, or look forward to a life of poverty?


Many would choose poverty over kowtowing to totalitarianism and systematic cultural annihilation.


Of course, India is also a pathway to the West- the TGIE has helped resettle Tibetans from poorer settlements in Arunachal in the United States and Canada.

I think you and Rory would be wise to actually speak to Tibetans about what they want instead of making assumptions. Certainly many in Dharamsala would be willing to go to China in the case the government gave some measure of freedom with regards to Tibetan language, culture and religion.

But that is not happening. If life in China is so great, why do they have to seal the border and pay off the Nepali military to shoot Tibetans and prevent them from coming to India?

It points to the fact that Tibetans are desperately unhappy under Chinese rule, as do the self-immolations. When the people are staring down the death of their culture, a new microwave in the kitchen or job leading tourists to empty shells of buildings that once represented something, isn't enough.

Don't take my word for it, talk to the Tibetans a five minute walk down the hill at the Human Rights Centre.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Indrajala » Mon May 12, 2014 11:27 am

JKhedrup wrote:And if you'd bothered to read the link I posted above, you would see TB has been nearly eradicated in the Tibetan communities of India.


I spoke to the Health Minister of the Exile Government a few months ago and he said TB is the biggest health problem among Tibetans in India (or maybe it was?). In any case, there's plenty of other diseases in India. India is not a good place to raise your kids.


Many would choose poverty over kowtowing to totalitarianism and systematic cultural annihilation.


China is not a totalitarian state. People can generally do what they want within reason as long as they stay away from politics.

I'm not so convinced Tibetan culture is subject to 'systematic cultural annihilation'. Monasteries are being rebuilt. Akong Rinpoche was working on that. You can still be a monk in Tibet. New Tibetan books are regularly published in Tibet, or so I hear.


If life in China is so great, why do they have to seal the border and pay off the Nepali military to shoot Tibetans and prevent them from coming to India?


I'm not saying it is great. I'm saying it is better than India. If I had children and had to decide on one or the other, I'd pick China. In India you are free to starve to death in the world's largest supposed democracy. In China the state is despotic, but the standard of living is still far better than what you get in India.

They have to seal the border for various reasons. Refugees showing up in Nepal and India also make China look bad, especially at the UN. Strategically it reveals gaps in their defenses to have people crossing over it without permission. It is wrong to shoot people, but their logic isn't arbitrary.


It points to the fact that Tibetans are desperately unhappy under Chinese rule, as do the self-immolations.


Well, they need to get used to it. China isn't leaving Tibet in this century. Their long-term plan is to assimilate territories like Tibetan and Xinjiang into the mainstream fold, get everyone (including all Chinese) to speak Putonghua Mandarin Chinese and build themselves up to being a superpower capable of burying the west (that wording came from a Chinese fellow, not me). That's the reality. Killing yourself doesn't advance the interests of your people.

The rest of the world doesn't really care about Tibet. Harper might meet the Dalai Lama and then turn around a sign a very questionable trade deal with the PRC. The Tibetans are a conquered people. Powerful nations all recognize this and just do business as usual with China.

I don't think China will grant any real autonomy to Tibetans either for the simple fact that they don't trust them. Again, there are strategic concerns. If Tibet had complete autonomy within the PRC, what is to stop dissidents from cooperating with hostile nations like India and trying to undermine Chinese sovereignty over Tibet? Or exercising the right to self-determination and joining India or claiming independence? That's not in China's interests, especially in terms of national defense. Tibet is too critical to lose.

So, torching yourself or rioting through the streets amount to senseless suicide or unnecessary time in a ghoulish prison probably.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby JKhedrup » Mon May 12, 2014 12:09 pm

I actually think the days of CPC control of China are numbered, the consequence of wanting to become a major world economic superpower is that you are confronted with globalization. Increasingly, ideas are becoming harder to control and monitor.

I firmly believe the oppressors of Tibet are the CPC and its cadres, not the Chinese people in general. Once the paradigm changes there is hope for Tibetans to salvage remnants of their culture, and there will be a huge opportunity for Tibetan Buddhism in the religious life of Han Chinese.

I watched an interview on Hard Talk with Ai Wei Wei recently where he pointed at the impossibility of monolithic control of the Chinese state continuing. He also had no qualms about characterizing the current government as despotic.

I'm not saying it is great. I'm saying it is better than India. If I had children and had to decide on one or the other, I'd pick China. In India you are free to starve to death in the world's largest supposed democracy. In China the state is despotic, but the standard of living is still far better than what you get in India.


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Last edited by JKhedrup on Mon May 12, 2014 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
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Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby theanarchist » Mon May 12, 2014 12:15 pm

Indrajala wrote:In China even if you're uneducated you still have the option of a regular hourly wage job in urban and semi-urban areas, which cannot always be said in most of India. ..



LOL

China has millions and millions of citizens who are unemployed in their home regions and have to move to areas with a better job situation where they are illegal and not even their children can go to school. So they have to leave their children with elderly relatives to be exploited as migratory labourers elsewhere.

It's illegal, millions of people suffer but obviously it's still convenient to have a class of underdogs.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Malcolm » Mon May 12, 2014 12:49 pm

JKhedrup wrote:
Also, medical care in China is prohibitively expensive. Despite being a socialist country, it makes people pay for healthcare just like in America. Good quality hospitals are probably financially out of reach for most Tibetans.


This is a fact. In order to even be seen in a Chinese emergency room, you must bring 2000 RMB cash.

Add to this the fact that as for most rural Indians, rural Chinese people have thoroughly noisome outhouses (and the bathrooms in the cities are just as foul as any I have encountered in India) and let their little ones pee and poo in public everywhere...his notion that China is cleaner than India is a fantasy. The water in mainland China is polluted beyond belief. The air in many places in China, unbreathable, just like Kathmandhu and Delhi. 25 percent of the arable land in China is too polluted to farm, and the list of China's environmental woes goes on and on.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Malcolm » Mon May 12, 2014 1:13 pm

Indrajala wrote:I spoke to the Health Minister of the Exile Government a few months ago and he said TB is the biggest health problem among Tibetans in India (or maybe it was?).


Yes, many of the refugees bring it with them from China when they escape. When I interned in the hospital in Xining, we had a whole wing devoted to TB patients. Many had come back several times.

Many would choose poverty over kowtowing to totalitarianism and systematic cultural annihilation.


China is not a totalitarian state.
\

It really depends on who you are. The Tibetans are under a totalitarian regime; their culture, language and heritage under extreme attack.

I'm not so convinced Tibetan culture is subject to 'systematic cultural annihilation'. Monasteries are being rebuilt. Akong Rinpoche was working on that. You can still be a monk in Tibet.


When you deny people the right to be educated in their own language, their culture dies.

New Tibetan books are regularly published in Tibet, or so I hear.


Yes, this is true -- but an every dwindling population of Tibetans can read them.

but the standard of living is still far better than what you get in India.


That really depends on where you live and how high up in the party you are.

Having seen many Chinese people as patients while I was an intern, most of their diseases were a result of their very low standard of living, just like in India.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby jiashengrox » Mon May 12, 2014 1:20 pm

JKhedrup wrote:I am actually really glad they did pull out.

Not because I don't like East Asian Buddhism- I really think if I had met different teachers I could see myself practicing in a tradional Chinese Buddhist order like Master Hua's.

The reason I'm glad they pulled out it that is enabled them to preserve the essence of many Indian Buddhist traditions that died out in the land of their birth, and if they had of adopted East Asian Buddhism this would not have been the case.


Exactly. One of them is the debate tradition which was inherited from the ancient Nalanda University. I thought it was really wonderful to preserve this pedagogy of learning and study.

Indrajala wrote:China is not a totalitarian state. People can generally do what they want within reason as long as they stay away from politics.


Are you certain this is true? I have sources telling me about how restrictive religious beliefs have been controlled in China.

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