China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa City in

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China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa City in

Postby viniketa » Sun May 12, 2013 7:11 pm

Thursday, 09 May 2013 13:00 Yeshe Choesang, The Tibet Post International

Lhasa-Tibet-2013-323 Dharamshala: - - Ignoring both religious freedom and the outcry of the Tibetan people, the Chinese authorities have begun demolishing the ancient capital of Lhasa, including one of the most important Buddhist sites of the city, Tibet's holiest Jokhang Temple.

Chinese authorities are planning to destroy the ancient Buddhist capital of Lhasa, and replace it with a tourist city similar to Lijiang. "Shangri-La" in Yunnan Province. Several large-scale construction projects are underway for a number of shopping malls around the Buddhist holy temple as well as underground parking at Barkhor Street.

"Traditional Tibetan buildings in this ancient city are once again facing the destruction crisis under Chinese modernization", well-known Tibetan writer Woeser told the RFA Mandarin section. She is also appealing to the global institutions, including UNESCO and Tibetans around the world to 'save Lhasa.'

Woeser, who is currently living in Beijing, has published an article on her blog-page (Sunday, May 5) with pictures of the ongoing construction in the ancient city of Lhasa. She has called for a global intervention in the serious situation in the city, where thousand year-old traditional buildings are being destroying by the Chinese in the name of modernization and social stability.

more here: http://www.thetibetpost.com/en/news/tib ... y-in-tibet
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Nosta » Sun May 12, 2013 7:55 pm

Thats very sad! Chinese government is very bad and dictatorial, I really dont like them (them: the government, not the people). In fact, the greatest countrys in the world have worst governments.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Beatzen » Mon May 13, 2013 5:43 am

Nosta wrote:Thats very sad! Chinese government is very bad and dictatorial, I really dont like them (them: the government, not the people). In fact, the greatest countrys in the world have worst governments.


Governance and violence comitted by the State, in China, is a complicated subject.

On the one hand, the CCP has instituted some of the most-marvellous, progressive and "liberal" policies the world has ever seen. But in writing that, I have to point out that their government (this is going to read as quite ironic) aparatus is too weak and poorly-funded to enforce many of their well-planned initiatives.

They have great laws on the books and programs worth operating, but they simply aren't currently organized in a fashion that helps them impliment these good things.

As far as ethnic relations in China, everyone knows that China is experiencing and downplaying the same tensions that the Soviet Union went through. Remember that the Soviet Union was a rickety association of many, many different ethnic groups. And as with the dominant Han group in China, the Russians manipulated their way into basically controlling the Soviet government aparatus.

I understand the political economy/theory that guided Maoism in its conception. I am sympathetic, even, to a point.

But I levy most of my criticism of their policies here, specifically, to the brutal hypocrisy of claiming to want to "preserve traditional culture." You know they chant that kind of thing when it serves their purpose, in between trying to exterminate non-Han culture, or else certain elements of their own culture as "counter-revolutionary" or corrupt and western. We know what this looks like in the worst cases, but at best it's laughable because they're espousing a kind of walt disney version of their own culture, as if they want to put their culture on display in a museum somewhere. A relic of the past. A dead culture.

But the one thing I consider, even though it sounds pessimistic, is that we can't really do anything at this point, to save Tibet: their people or their culture, not to mention the ecology of the Tibetan plateu. It's too late, the Chinese have basically already accomplished genocide. More Chinese today live in Lhasa than do ethnic Tibetans. They were transplanted there purposefully by the Chinese government.

But they're mistaken if this means that Tibetan lineages are going to become extinct. Yes, they might have extinguished many lineages inside Tibet already. That is one reason I'm so excited to hear that Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo is undertaking a serious effort to re-establish the Togdenma lineage from her nunnery in India. The damage that has been done is serious, but I think that leaders in the Tibetan Buddhist Community have done a spectacular job of stepping up and starting over from scratch. It's very inspiring.

My main fear is that the ethnicity "Tibetan" will in the future refer to a then-extinct group of people. I'm most worried about China's serious efforts to basically either breed-out or else murder the Tibetans in Tibet.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Punya » Mon May 13, 2013 10:39 pm

viniketa wrote:Thursday, 09 May 2013 13:00 Yeshe Choesang, The Tibet Post International

Lhasa-Tibet-2013-323 Dharamshala: - - Ignoring both religious freedom and the outcry of the Tibetan people, the Chinese authorities have begun demolishing the ancient capital of Lhasa, including one of the most important Buddhist sites of the city, Tibet's holiest Jokhang Temple.

Chinese authorities are planning to destroy the ancient Buddhist capital of Lhasa, and replace it with a tourist city similar to Lijiang. "Shangri-La" in Yunnan Province. Several large-scale construction projects are underway for a number of shopping malls around the Buddhist holy temple as well as underground parking at Barkhor Street.

"Traditional Tibetan buildings in this ancient city are once again facing the destruction crisis under Chinese modernization", well-known Tibetan writer Woeser told the RFA Mandarin section. She is also appealing to the global institutions, including UNESCO and Tibetans around the world to 'save Lhasa.'

Woeser, who is currently living in Beijing, has published an article on her blog-page (Sunday, May 5) with pictures of the ongoing construction in the ancient city of Lhasa. She has called for a global intervention in the serious situation in the city, where thousand year-old traditional buildings are being destroying by the Chinese in the name of modernization and social stability.

more here: http://www.thetibetpost.com/en/news/tib ... y-in-tibet


I was intending a trip to Tibet next year. Curious that they should relax the rules on foreigners visits on 1 April but at the same time plan the destruction of the Jokhang temple, established in the 8th centrury and Tibet's holiest site, and the surrounding Barkhor kora, which was my main reason for wanting to visit Tibet. But I guess we all know what the real agenda is here. Not that I don't like the Chinese people or have some understanding of the Chinese government's desperation to hold everything together.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby randomseb » Wed May 15, 2013 4:52 am

While this is sad news, it is also an abject lesson in impermanence and non-attachment, right?

This too shall pass..
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby uan » Fri May 17, 2013 2:40 pm

We are on a Buddhist website and we just take a single piece of information as gospel?

demolishing the ancient capital of Lhasa, including one of the most important Buddhist sites of the city, Tibet's holiest Jokhang Temple.


Incredibly doubtful. Here's the fundamental logic of the blog post - there's construction going on so they are destroying Jokhang Temple and demolishing Lhasa. But the story does fit people's beliefs so I guess that's enough.

I'd put this under the heading of "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof".
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Punya » Fri May 17, 2013 10:38 pm

Yes, this had occurred to me. We'll just to wait and see (or hear).
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Namgyal » Fri May 17, 2013 11:01 pm

Beatzen wrote:...the CCP has instituted some of the most-marvellous, progressive and "liberal" policies the world has ever seen...

Such as...?
Beatzen wrote:...they simply aren't currently organized in a fashion that helps them impliment these good things.

They are structured exactly like a giant organised crime gang.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby kirtu » Sat May 18, 2013 2:59 am

uan wrote:We are on a Buddhist website and we just take a single piece of information as gospel?

demolishing the ancient capital of Lhasa, including one of the most important Buddhist sites of the city, Tibet's holiest Jokhang Temple.


Incredibly doubtful. Here's the fundamental logic of the blog post - there's construction going on so they are destroying Jokhang Temple and demolishing Lhasa. But the story does fit people's beliefs so I guess that's enough.


They are apparently destroying the Barkhor and with it the pilgrimage route around the Jokhang.

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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby uan » Sat May 18, 2013 3:43 am

kirtu wrote:
uan wrote:We are on a Buddhist website and we just take a single piece of information as gospel?

demolishing the ancient capital of Lhasa, including one of the most important Buddhist sites of the city, Tibet's holiest Jokhang Temple.


Incredibly doubtful. Here's the fundamental logic of the blog post - there's construction going on so they are destroying Jokhang Temple and demolishing Lhasa. But the story does fit people's beliefs so I guess that's enough.


They are apparently destroying the Barkhor and with it the pilgrimage route around the Jokhang.

Kirt



Here's a quote from the article:

This means clearing vendors from the Barkhor streets, perhaps better named 'destruction.'


We all impart on own meanings on to objects, though an object is inherently empty of any meaning. Ironically, this view is an intrinsic part of Tibetan Buddhism.

Here we have "destroying the Barkhor" including destroying "the pilgrimage route" around the Jokhang, to clearing vendors from Barkhor streets, aka "destruction" to "pictures of construction."

Who knows what's going on? There is construction and modernization and this has been done to poor effect in many parts of China, but also in many parts of the world. Is this a good or bad thing in Lhasa? Probably a mixture of both and in ways that we can't imagine, and in ways that we do--imagine that is. As part of our imagination which is not a real thing.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Punya » Sat May 18, 2013 5:43 am

Yes, I agree on both counts. The language in the article is pretty ambiguous and open to (mis)interpretation and bad city planning decisions are made in many places.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby kirtu » Sat May 18, 2013 5:49 pm

uan wrote:Here we have "destroying the Barkhor" including destroying "the pilgrimage route" around the Jokhang, to clearing vendors from Barkhor streets, aka "destruction" to "pictures of construction."

Who knows what's going on? There is construction and modernization and this has been done to poor effect in many parts of China, but also in many parts of the world.


The article itself does nt indicate a destruction of the Jokhang. However the PRC may have such plans.

The article and other articles do in fact support the actual destruction of the Barkhor. The Barkhor being a Tibetan institution. The transition of Lhasa to a Chinese city continues unabated. Why? The PRC has intended and continues to execute a form of cultural genocide in order to solidify their rule and to make it impossible to return Lhasa locally to any kind of Tibetan model.

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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Namgyal » Sat May 18, 2013 6:14 pm

kirtu wrote:The PRC has intended and continues to execute a form of cultural genocide in order to solidify their rule and to make it impossible to return Lhasa locally to any kind of Tibetan model.

Hu Jintao, who was once governor of the TAR, said (off the record) that it was official PRC policy to totally annihilate the Tibetans and their culture.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby uan » Sun May 19, 2013 3:52 am

Namgyal wrote:
kirtu wrote:The PRC has intended and continues to execute a form of cultural genocide in order to solidify their rule and to make it impossible to return Lhasa locally to any kind of Tibetan model.

Hu Jintao, who was once governor of the TAR, said (off the record) that it was official PRC policy to totally annihilate the Tibetans and their culture.


You think you could provide a source for that? Something beyond "Thus I have heard" or "someone quoting someone quoting somebody who claims to have heard it" would be great. Thanks.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun May 19, 2013 4:30 am

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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby uan » Sun May 19, 2013 6:00 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Source with photos:
http://www.thetibetpost.com/en/news/tib ... y-in-tibet


Namgyal made a claim that Hu Jintao said "off the record" that it was official PRC policy to annihilate Tibetans and Tibet Culture. I'd love to see an actual legitimate source for that claim. And a source with photos, or a video, would be even better.

As for the photos in the article, there's construction going on. That's all we can see. Everything else is just speculation, from the actual plans of the construction to the intent of everyone involved, etc.

As is often the case, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. The Barkhor is a place where demonstrations have happened in the past and I'm sure some of the construction is designed to minimize that in the future. That's a far cry from the Chinese are going to tear down the Jokhang as a prelude to wiping out Lhasa - and if you're going to trust the article, then trust it in it's entirety, not just picking and choosing the parts that "seem" right in your (the generic your, btw) view.

From a Buddhist pov, an object has no inherent existence, no inherent meaning. Only the meaning we bring to it ourselves. Which is true? Your meaning? My meaning? Place a bouquet of flowers on a table. The flowers you see aren't the same flowers I see. That's just with flowers, how much more so when looking at photos of construction being done in Lhasa by the Chinese?

The Chinese have a much more nuanced relationship with Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism/Culture than most people outside of China give them credit for. The Chinese government has a policy of zero dissent and they do crack down on groups/organizations, etc. that are a perceived threat to their rule, ranging from Tibetan to Chinese. This even extends to individuals within the party that are perceived as a threat (the recent Bo Xilai case is an example). Having said that, there are high ranking members of the ruling Communist Party that cultivate relationships with influential/enlightened lamas and Rinpoches in Tibet. This extends down to many of China's cultural elite and better educated class as well.

Then you have a class of ambitious business people trying to get rich (or richer) who have bad taste and no appreciation for culture, whether it be Chinese or Tibetan and with no agenda, other than sheer greed. These folks have created many blights on the country, and will undoubtedly create many many more throughout all of China.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Namgyal » Sun May 19, 2013 10:29 am

uan wrote:Namgyal made a claim that Hu Jintao said "off the record" that it was official PRC policy to annihilate Tibetans and Tibet Culture. I'd love to see an actual legitimate source for that claim. And a source with photos, or a video, would be even better.

He made this comment at a private function that I attended some years ago.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Indrajala » Sun May 19, 2013 11:48 am

Namgyal wrote:
kirtu wrote:The PRC has intended and continues to execute a form of cultural genocide in order to solidify their rule and to make it impossible to return Lhasa locally to any kind of Tibetan model.

Hu Jintao, who was once governor of the TAR, said (off the record) that it was official PRC policy to totally annihilate the Tibetans and their culture.


The Chinese are not really doing anything that hasn't already been done plenty of times before by the Chinese and numerous other cultures. Throughout history many cultures, many in the present as well, have insisted on forced adoption of cultural paradigms, languages and so forth.

The Canadian state forced native children into boarding schools not so long ago where they lost their language and heritage in a generation. Likewise immigrants from Europe were expected to learn English (or French depending on where they were going) and fit into mainstream society. Their children might have spoken another language at home, but they were educated in English and then their children spoke English as a native language. Cultural homogenization enabled the country to be integrated with a common identity. This goes against the wishful thinking of liberal ideologies nowadays, but at the time it made sense to the public and state.

In a similar way, Japan homogenized its population to the point that everyone from Hokkaido to Okinawa thinks of themselves as a single culture, race and ethnicity, regardless of the fact there used to be massive linguistic and cultural gaps. This led to the social stability and effective management of the populace that Japan presently enjoys.

The PRC is especially concerned about any social instability that multiculturalism inevitably brings. When people see themselves as "us" versus a "them", there is cause for separatism, which can be the death of a state.

Consequently, six million Tibetans losing their culture are of little consequence to a country with over a billion people. Moreover, to the PRC and its population, if a unified and powerful China requires the eradication of Tibetan culture, then so be it.

I imagine the top echelons just see it as a necessary evil. They probably realize it isn't exactly kind of them (they create the propaganda, so they know what is really happening), but then the welfare of a billion people in an industrialized nation depends on the stability of the state. If they allow for divisions in the nation to arise, most notably in Xinjiang and Tibet, then China stands to lose strategically essential territory and resources which they require to ensure social stability and prosperity in China proper. It isn't so much about culture as it is about resources and strategic issues.

In the 19th and 20th centuries China was humiliated and almost carved up by completing imperialist powers. There is a national consensus that this cannot and will not happen ever again. Therefore the state has the public support and political will to do whatever it takes to ensure such security is in place and is never compromised. Tibet is essential to China's strategic power. They can twist the arms of their neighbouring countries because they control access to the sources of numerous rivers which provide freshwater to much of Asia. That alone is a deterrent that will keep underling states quiet, and make India think twice about stepping over the line. Such deterrence also gives China the ability to stake claims to resources that other nations might otherwise contest.

In the present day China has seen the value of soft power and cultural homogenization via popular culture. If you get your youth, especially those at risk of acting against the state, hooked on pop singers and iPhones, then people are placated and less likely to take an interest in politics or anything that would endanger the nation. This benefits the elites, sure, but then the leadership isn't completely amoral: they do want their people free from conflict and turmoil. Once you get Tibetan youth swept up in Chinese pop culture it makes controlling them a lot easier. Also, if they're educated in Chinese their kids will probably speak Chinese as their native language.

So, the PRC elites might be unpopular on the world stage, but then they have their reasoning. It isn't kind and compassionate, but then Chinese policies historically seldom ever have been. Heavy state control and firm control of the populace were part of the Qing Dynasty way of governance as well. Liberal democratic values and multiculturalism are largely seen as detrimental and dangerous.

I don't really believe China will loosen its grip on Tibet anytime soon. It will fight tooth and nail to ensure it becomes a permanent part of China, just as India will do with Kashmir. There's too much at stake to do otherwise. Cultural genocide is easily justifiable if it means a billion people or more are ensured stability and prosperity. The west had the same reasoning only a few years ago.

The Tibetans in India and Nepal maybe recognize this reality and have resigned themselves to staying permanently as a respected minority. They've built massive monasteries that are clearly not meant to exist for just a few decades. All things considered they'll be able to preserve their culture and Buddhism in India better than they could under the PRC. India automatically has to tolerate different cultures and languages, whereas China doesn't need to. Even if China became a democracy the elites and public still wouldn't budge much on the Tibet issue.

Sad, but that's the reality in my opinion.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Namgyal » Sun May 19, 2013 12:25 pm

:good:
Indrajala wrote:The Tibetans in India and Nepal maybe recognize this reality and have resigned themselves to staying permanently as a respected minority.

When HH Sakya Trizin and his party met a group of Theravada monks they asked him, 'You are from Tibet?' and he replied, 'No, we are from India now.'
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Indrajala » Sun May 19, 2013 12:57 pm

Namgyal wrote::good:
Indrajala wrote:The Tibetans in India and Nepal maybe recognize this reality and have resigned themselves to staying permanently as a respected minority.

When HH Sakya Trizin and his party met a group of Theravada monks they asked him, 'You are from Tibet?' and he replied, 'No, we are from India now.'
:crying:


They're being realistic.

I noticed in Dharamsala that Namgyal Monastery, HHDL's monastery, looks rather utilitarian. A lot of cold cement, steel and yellow paint, but not much in the way of decorations or traditional Tibetan architecture. That's actually quite a political statement, because it sends the message that this is just a temporary structure and not meant to stand for centuries. It was put together relatively quickly and will come down just as fast when HHDL takes his rightful seat in Lhasa once again. If they built a more permanent and pretty facility it would send the message that the institution believes they'll be staying around indefinitely.

Still, in places like Sarnath the Karmapa's temple is extensively decorated, both the inside and out. Other places have clearly invested heavily in permanent structures, decorations and institutions, especially down south, but also in Nepal. At Namo Buddha, Phar Ping and Boudha you can see huge temples that are works of art in their own right. Again, there's no indication that the Tibetans plan to be heading back to Tibet anytime soon.

There's also the Tibetan colleges in Sarnath and Ladakh which are permanent.

The Tibetan resettlement outside of Leh had a huge college complex built for them at state expense (I visited and met the principal). The Indian state gets a lot from this arrangement because it helps legitimize their claim over Jammu and Kashmir, which Ladakh belongs to, against Pakistan and China (more the former).

Really what this reveals is that the Indian state also expects the Tibetans are staying for good when they build such resettlement communities and colleges. Maybe in the early years they thought the Tibetans would go back eventually, but they're not expecting that any longer. Plenty of Tibetans in India now are second or even third generation. I meet them frequently. I've met a few of the posh ones who are educated in private English medium schools and sound American.

With that in mind, I've come to wonder if the Tibetan independence movement and its associated organizations in India are not really more about supporting long-standing institutions and personal interests rather than realistically finding a solution or bringing the issue to the world's attention. Everyone knows about Tibet already, and clearly the world doesn't care enough to move against the PRC. Meeting HHDL is a nice way for a politician to demonstrate what a swell individual they are for meeting him and giving him a kata. It is a relatively cheap way to boost your image, especially when China is protesting: it shows you're autonomous and not one to back down when China protests as they often do.

But then that's just utter selfishness on the part of foreign states and it doesn't help Tibetans.

If the Tibetans in India don't plan to go home, who is really benefiting from such activism for a free Tibet? In Dharamsala and elsewhere there are people earning a living off such sentiments for independence. They are paid to do research or work in broadcasting and/or media. The hope, albeit really abandoned it seems, for a free Tibet justifies spending money on such projects. For the people involved, that hope is what gets them a salary.
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