China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa City in

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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby uan » Sun May 19, 2013 2:46 pm

Namgyal wrote:
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.
:namaste:



I'd be interested in hearing more about this. :namaste:
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby uan » Sun May 19, 2013 2:49 pm

Indrajala wrote:...


I appreciate your insight and perspective in both of your posts. :namaste:
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Monsoon » Thu May 23, 2013 9:54 am

For what it is worth I don't think pointing the finger in any direction is especially helpful. People decry the Chinese approach of recent times with regard to Tibet. Understandable I guess. However, to be fair, a quick glance at the official histories of Tibet itself does not exactly reveal a stellar record of human rights, peace and prosperity either. I realise that I will probably get totally slammed for daring to criticise Tibet, but ignoring such things is also unhelpful.

Change comes whether we welcome it or not. Its form is usually not of our choosing either. As a Buddhist country, and thus surely deeply connected with the idea of impermanence, it is somewhat ironic that people wish to leave the country in a state that echoes the 13th century (pick your own date!). Everything moves on, and while we can certainly protest its manner of movement, nothing will stop it.

Actually, it reminds me a little of people who protest about climate change - and who don't seem to understand that climate change will occur anyway, even if humans weren't on the planet, and there is nothing we can do to stop it. Slow it down a little, maybe, stop it? No.

Acceptance of change should ease the transition. Don't see much of this happening though.

Please note: although I do not agree with the changes that are being wrought in Tibet, I also do not agree with stopping them outright.

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Edited several times by Monsoon: my keyboard keeps putting extra letters in. I think it is sentient! :)
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Indrajala » Thu May 23, 2013 10:24 am

Monsoon wrote:I realise that I will probably get totally slammed for daring to criticise Tibet, but ignoring such things is also unhelpful.


In many ways the pre-PRC Tibetan government is to blame for what happened.

They maintained a closed country policy, whereas they should have opened up to the whole world, established strong diplomatic relations and invited plenty of foreigners in, especially from countries like Britain and the USA. If such relationships had been cultivated, then when the PRC invaded it might have made a difference, but instead for the rest of the world Tibet was a mythological Shangri La way up in the Himalayas and of no consequence to them. The PRC faced minimal international opposition to their campaign and they knew it. There was no deterrent against invasion. In fact Tibet was painted in a negative light at times, so this didn't help matters much.

In 1928 Time Magazine ran the following article:

    Buddha, the most placid of the prophets, would himself have been perturbed by a letter which was received last week at the Buddhist Center, of Manhattan. The letter was signed by Professor Nicholas Roerich; it had been despatched from the terrain that lies north of the Himalayas, where the Roerich American Expedition (TIME, June 4) is now located. It detailed, in approximately 5,000 words, the degradation which Nicholas Roerich had discovered in Tibet during his four-year sojourn thereabouts. In condensed form, the letter said: Buddhism in Tibet, its ancient stronghold, has become a depraved Shamanistic religion. The celebrated Tashi Lumpo monastery, residence of the abdicated Tashi Lama, has been deserted and desecrated. Lamas, teachers of the people, tell fortunes for alms, by the haunches of mutton, or dice; they beg and cheat; to mystify the ignorant, they mutter squeaky conjurations or play with human bones. The forest-dwelling Buddhists revere arrows and absurd amulets. Conscious reverence for Buddha is held by very few.

    The business of Tibet has fallen into ruin. A pitiful hut is described, in official documents as "a snowy palace." . . . In the big villages there is not a single store. . . . "In twilight people come to you begging you to sell them something but they do not dare to trade openly. . . . It is dreadful to think that the name of Buddha is intermingled with all this dirt, physical and spiritual."


The Tibetans paid dearly for the bad policy decisions of their leaders.

It is amazing a similar fate didn't befall Bhutan. There is a widespread belief in their Dharma Protector having protected them. I imagine Tibetans thought their Dharma Protectors would protect them, too. It is very unwise to base political decisions on a belief in divine protection.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby BuddhaSoup » Thu May 23, 2013 2:18 pm

Ven. Indrajala:

What would have to occur for Tibet to become autonomous,or for HHDL to return? My sense from your comments (they ring true) is that a free Tibet is now only an aspiration, and not a likely one. Reminds me a bit of Ireland and Northern Ireland. So many in Ireland made money off of the NI issues, seeking to drive the British off the island. The reality is that the British were there to stay. It seems that, like a cancer, once China attached itself to the internal organs of Tibet, the metastasis is only a foregone conclusion. Chemotherapy in the form of "Free Tibet" movements makes everyone feel better, but in the end, there's no international surgeon (UN?) willing to operate to remove the tumors.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Indrajala » Thu May 23, 2013 5:29 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote:What would have to occur for Tibet to become autonomous,or for HHDL to return?


Well, for HHDL returning to Tibet, it would require Chinese leadership that saw wisdom in letting HHDL return as a means of boosting China's image or solidifying ties with India for some purpose. The former is unnecessary for now because their denunciation of him as a separatist has a function in their internal propaganda. The latter at the moment won't happen because both countries are competing for dominance in the region and border disputes are ongoing. India housing HHDL is beneficial for India's image on the global stage (soft power protection).

True autonomy of Tibet would undermine China's plans for resource extraction and their long-term strategic concerns. After half a century of cultural genocide, they won't trust the Tibetans not to start separatist movements. They know Tibetans wouldn't become happy PRC citizens and never challenge Beijing, even if there were democratic elections (which may or may not ever occur). There's already a huge Han Chinese population in Tibet, too, which cannot be told to leave at this point. You have second and third generation Han Chinese in parts of Tibet, too. Lhasa is a Chinese city now. So how would autonomy work? Also, would it be in China's long-term interests? Probably not.

They don't need to be nice to Tibetans to impress anyone. They know money talks, plus the cold hard realities of military power. Nobody is going to pick a fight with them or even start a trade war over Tibet, and they know it. It might have been possible in the 60s as the CIA intervention back then would suggest, but that's long past. China and the USA are business partners and the elites have a lot of common interests now.

It isn't like Ladakh in India which from the start had cultural and religious freedoms. The India state gave them education, healthcare, electricity and roads. They got rich pretty quick with foreign tourists, too. The military bases there are not a huge problem for Ladakhis, both the Muslims and Buddhists. Local forms of governance are recognized and encouraged, but the state of Jammu and Kashmir calls the shots on overarching matters. But the Ladakhis seem fine with this and are content with being in the Republic of India. They get sufficient autonomy in their daily lives.

Incidentally, HHDL has a summer residence outside of Leh. I visited it when he wasn't there. :smile:




My sense from your comments (they ring true) is that a free Tibet is now only an aspiration, and not a likely one.


I don't see how it could happen unless the Chinese state collapsed and all the Han Chinese in Tibet left. But then they probably feel Tibet is their home, so they might not be so quick to leave.

All things considered if the Chinese state collapses and something like a civil war erupts, the suffering resulting from that might be greater than the cultural genocide committed against Tibetans over half a century.

Some people here might think it would be just retribution and an opportune moment for Tibetans to reclaim their land, but that ignores the fact that a billion people in China suddenly losing a stable state is a lot larger a problem than Tibet.

We hear a lot about the plight of Tibetans, but hardly anyone in Tibetan Buddhism recognizes the plight of average Chinese people, both now and historically. They went through hell and back under Mao. A lot more Chinese than Tibetans died under the boots of Mao and his sidekicks. Cultural genocide was exercised against Chinese culture, too.

Basically, we're always talking about Tibetans, but ignore the fact that a billion Chinese people need to be considered as well. It might not seem warranted including them in consideration of an independent Tibet, but in reality their welfare at this point in time actually depends to an extent on the military deterrence gained through China's control of Xinjiang and Tibet. Nobody is going to invade China from the west, but if you're going to call the shots in Asia and ensure you have access to resources you might not otherwise have (and are now necessary for supporting a billion people and their raised standard of living), then you need to possess hard power.

If China was to walk out of Tibet tomorrow the well-being of a billion or more Chinese people would be compromised. That's why there's no political will to do it. Zero.

It isn't just, but then geo-politics and the realities of the world are not fair.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Sherlock » Thu May 23, 2013 6:15 pm

About 1200 years ago, a large part of Western China (present day Gansu) was under the rule of the Tibetan Empire. The Han Chinese had to wear Tibetan clothes, learn to speak and write Tibetan and even give their children Tibetan names. Once a year they were allowed to wear Chinese clothes to mourn for their ancestors. (Source) It lasted for about a hundred years until the Tibetan Empire fell apart.

Today the Chinese have a strong empire again and in Tibet and Xinjiang they enforce their rule through military might. Their military is still ultimately based on fossil-fuels and as the effects of peak coal hit, it will be increasingly harder for them to maintain their control, as well as for Han Chinese not genetically or culturally adapted for the environment to survive there without heating etc.

I have no idea about how events are going to unfold exactly, perhaps by then, Tibetan culture will already be wiped out. I certainly hope not, but what can I do? Many rural parts of the Tibetan plateau are still largely monolingual and I think the culture will survive longest there, amongst farmers and nomads.

Even more important than culture IMO is the destruction of the environment. The Chinese have ruined much of the environments in their homelands and in the process of extracting resources from Tibet are likely to do similar damage to it as well, not to mention with forcing nomads to lead settled lives and causing desertification.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Namgyal » Fri May 24, 2013 1:32 am

Indrajala wrote:...I don't see how it could happen unless the Chinese state collapsed...

If they don't maintain 5% growth their labour market will collapse. Some Chinese scholars also believe that in its present extended form the Chinese state is structurally unstable. The ancient Chinese empire had a time-tested size and symmetry, and it never absorbed foreign nations.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Indrajala » Fri May 24, 2013 5:20 am

Namgyal wrote:The ancient Chinese empire had a time-tested size and symmetry, and it never absorbed foreign nations.
:namaste:


You hear this from Chinese scholars who represent their own version of anti-imperialism.

It is highly misleading given the fact the Chinese did in fact conquer and absorb foreign cultures. Just look at Yunnan and the city states of the Tarim Basin.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Ramon1920 » Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:31 pm

Jokang!? that's crazy. I thought they would always save that temple for tourism! It's like the most famous Buddhist temple in the world.

Oh well, it will be their loss in the long run I think.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby kirtu » Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:18 pm

And here is what they want to destroy : a lap around the Barkor.

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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:29 pm

Indrajala wrote:
If China was to walk out of Tibet tomorrow the well-being of a billion or more Chinese people would be compromised.


This windup is a totally indemonstrable assertion, one I suspect that arises from your not-very-subtle aversion towards the oft-touted "popularity" of Transhimalayan Buddhism amongst a very small section of upper middle-class white boomers in the US and Europe.

The wellbeing of the Chinese population would in no way will be compromised if the Chinese Govt. were to vacate its present western holdings.

As it stands, the Chinese Govt. is foolishly pushing Asia towards a resource war. A war in which everyone will lose, and there will be no winners at all.

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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Indrajala » Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:52 pm

Malcolm wrote:This windup is a totally indemonstrable assertion, one I suspect that arises from your not-very-subtle aversion towards the oft-touted "popularity" of Transhimalayan Buddhism amongst a very small section of upper middle-class white boomers in the US and Europe.


You can suspect all manner of things about me. They won't necessarily be correct.


The wellbeing of the Chinese population would in no way will be compromised if the Chinese Govt. were to vacate its present western holdings.


I disagree.

China has a lot of unearned wealth and political clout that requires the strategically valuable lands of Tibet (whether that is morally right or not is another questions).

If China controls Tibet, it has control over the waters of many rivers which the rest of Asia largely depends on. That in itself is a deterrent that gives China access to a lot of wealth, power and resources it might not otherwise have. Future plans to expand into the South China Sea also depend on maintaining the threat of credible retaliation against its neighbours. As it currently stands Tibet is an intricate part of China's strategic interests, and that won't change.

The standard of living and increasing power that the Chinese enjoy would be compromised if Tibet was lost. Remember that when people get accustomed to an increased standard of living, they seldom voluntarily give it up. That means there is no political will for the PRC leadership to compromise on the Tibet issue even if they wanted to.

Is that fair and just? No, but politics is not about being fair and just. The only states which can play fairly are client states of larger powers that do not play fairly. If you had to look after the welfare of a billion people, you might calculate things in a different manner as well.

I don't support the PRC in Tibet, but I acknowledge what they're doing and why. Saying they should exit Tibet isn't going to help the Tibetans much. Provoking their wrath is only going to lead to more bloodshed and tears. You can be idealistic and scream "Free Tibet!" but again that hardly helps the situation. Your naive statement above is illustrative of idealism rather than a firm grasp on the political reality.

Crying for human rights and freedom doesn't do much when it comes to the cold hard realities of national security.


As it stands, the Chinese Govt. is foolishly pushing Asia towards a resource war. A war in which everyone will lose, and there will be no winners at all.


This is indeed the case. I would rather not see it come to this, but nevertheless I have no control over the situation and never will. History runs in cycles. We have had a number of decades of relative stability and prosperity, but we are not far from a crisis stage, not unlike the years preceding WWI through to 1945.

We should be more realistic and look to damage control. You can't save the world.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:28 pm

Indrajala wrote:Your naive statement above is illustrative of idealism rather than a firm grasp on the political reality.


My statement is neither naive nor idealistic.

China can certainly ensure the wellbeing of its billion people whether or not it has political control over Tibet.

Incidentally, I was not suggesting that the Chinese would ever voluntarily leave Tibet -- they are too foolish to make that wise choice.

They are going to plunge Asia, and the rest of the world, into war if they continue their presently unsustainable policies in the region.

My observations have nothing to do with Tibetan Nationalist politics (I am not Tibetan so their nationalism is not my fight). My observations have more to do with limits on human growth, preserving delicate environments and flora and fauna in them, etc.

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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Luke » Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:26 pm

Malcolm wrote:China can certainly ensure the wellbeing of its billion people whether or not it has political control over Tibet.

Yes, exactly. China would be large and very powerful even without Tibet! People who suggest otherwise are just paranoid.

It's a shame that the Chinese government just holds on to Tibet out of fear. China's image in the world would be enhanced dramatically by giving freedom to the Tibetans. It would be a news story of epic proportions like the end of Apartheid in South Africa or like the fall of the Berlin Wall! All the eyes of the world would be on Tibet and China at that moment.

And protecting the original temples and holy sites in Tibet will ultimately bring more foreign tourists to Tibet than fake tourist traps built in their places would. Buddhist pilgrimages to Tibet would increase dramatically if it were free.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Indrajala » Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:08 am

Luke wrote:It's a shame that the Chinese government just holds on to Tibet out of fear. China's image in the world would be enhanced dramatically by giving freedom to the Tibetans.


You really don't understand how politics work in East Asia.

Acting like a nice guy is perceived as a sign of weakness, not strength. It encourages predatory behaviour on the part of your enemies. Internally it causes dissatisfaction with your leadership. This is why Japanese politicians visit Yasukuni. This is why the PRC leadership doesn't listen to the international community with respect to Tibet despite all the finger pointing.

China doesn't need to improve its image anyway. It has the world by the balls financially and industrially. It doesn't matter if a lot of westerners dislike the PRC, because at the end of the day they buy their underwear from China, and the realities of politics and trade are in China's favour. You can point fingers all you like, but it is pretty comical all things considered.



It would be a news story of epic proportions like the end of Apartheid in South Africa or like the fall of the Berlin Wall! All the eyes of the world would be on Tibet and China at that moment.


Did you get your ideas from Robert Thurman?
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Malcolm » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:51 am

Indrajala wrote:
China doesn't need to improve its image anyway. It has the world by the balls financially and industrially.


Not really -- they are facing a credit bubble, a real estate bubble, their industries are actually operating at losses in general, all to prop up a growing consumer class.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Indrajala » Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:46 am

Malcolm wrote:Not really -- they are facing a credit bubble, a real estate bubble, their industries are actually operating at losses in general, all to prop up a growing consumer class.


Well we'll see how they manage.

In any case it is beyond my control and will, so no sense becoming emotionally compromised over it.

In the end they might last longer in the game than the USA.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Malcolm » Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:23 pm

Indrajala wrote:
In the end they might last longer in the game than the USA.


I doubt it -- I vote China the country most likely to degenerate into provinces run by warlords -- they are halfway there (again) already, and things are only being very tenuously tied together by an increasingly moribund and irrelevant Communist Party leadership.

They do not have the resources the western hemisphere has, they do not have the technology, their environment is ruined, there is massive social unrest with frequent riots, and their political system is moribund as well, as noted above.
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Re: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa Cit

Postby Simon E. » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:09 pm

This. :good:
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