Friday, June 25, 2010

Now I really am off to Germany

I leave you with this link to a story on the Dalai Lama by Michael Parenti.

If you haven't read it you owe yourself to do so.  One might think after reading it  that if Robert Thurman entered a room in which Michael Parenti was present that Thurman would disintegrate. On history and politics, Parenti's at least as educationally pedigreed as Thurman...

OK, here's a snippet:

What happened to Tibet after the Chinese Communists moved into the country in 1951? The treaty of that year provided for ostensible self-governance under the Dalai Lama’s rule but gave China military control and exclusive right to conduct foreign relations. The Chinese were also granted a direct role in internal administration “to promote social reforms.” Among the earliest changes they wrought was to reduce usurious interest rates, and build a few hospitals and roads. At first, they moved slowly, relying mostly on persuasion in an attempt to effect reconstruction. No aristocratic or monastic property was confiscated, and feudal lords continued to reign over their hereditarily bound peasants. “Contrary to popular belief in the West,” claims one observer, the Chinese “took care to show respect for Tibetan culture and religion.”25
Over the centuries the Tibetan lords and lamas had seen Chinese come and go, and had enjoyed good relations with Generalissimo Chiang Kaishek and his reactionary Kuomintang rule in China.26 The approval of the Kuomintang government was needed to validate the choice of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama. When the current 14th Dalai Lama was first installed in Lhasa, it was with an armed escort of Chinese troops and an attending Chinese minister, in accordance with centuries-old tradition. What upset the Tibetan lords and lamas in the early 1950s was that these latest Chinese were Communists. It would be only a matter of time, they feared, before the Communists started imposing their collectivist egalitarian schemes upon Tibet.
The issue was joined in 1956-57, when armed Tibetan bands ambushed convoys of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army. The uprising received extensive assistance from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), including military training, support camps in Nepal, and numerous airlifts.27 Meanwhile in the United States, the American Society for a Free Asia, a CIA-financed front, energetically publicized the cause of Tibetan resistance, with the Dalai Lama’s eldest brother, Thubtan Norbu, playing an active role in that organization. The Dalai Lama's second-eldest brother, Gyalo Thondup, established an intelligence operation with the CIA as early as 1951. He later upgraded it into a CIA-trained guerrilla unit whose recruits parachuted back into Tibet.28
Many Tibetan commandos and agents whom the CIA dropped into the country were chiefs of aristocratic clans or the sons of chiefs. Ninety percent of them were never heard from again, according to a report from the CIA itself, meaning they were most likely captured and killed.29 “Many lamas and lay members of the elite and much of the Tibetan army joined the uprising, but in the main the populace did not, assuring its failure,” writes Hugh Deane.30 In their book on Tibet, Ginsburg and Mathos reach a similar conclusion: “As far as can be ascertained, the great bulk of the common people of Lhasa and of the adjoining countryside failed to join in the fighting against the Chinese both when it first began and as it progressed.”31 Eventually the resistance crumbled.

Whatever wrongs and new oppressions introduced by the Chinese after 1959, they did abolish slavery and the Tibetan serfdom system of unpaid labor. They eliminated the many crushing taxes, started work projects, and greatly reduced unemployment and beggary. They established secular schools, thereby breaking the educational monopoly of the monasteries. And they constructed running water and electrical systems in Lhasa.32 



Read the article; Parenti is no apologist for China by any means (and neither am I).  But given just this history, (and Parenti really doesn't go into the geographical, military, or other issues of China and Tibet here) it becomes quite easy to see why the average Chinese or even Tibetan might be a bit suspicious of claims that many people in Tibet want the Dalai Lama back as political head there.

They remember all the nasty stuff, I'd suspect.

Somebody on another blog had mentioned there are people that hold the Dalai Lama to a different standard than other people. Look, I think anyone involved with perpetrating institutions that produce effects even remotely like those produced by Roberto d'Aubuisson or Efrain Rios-Montt shouldn't be allowed near the governmental levers of power, OK?

Doesn't matter if they have impish smiles and say nice things to Buddhists.

2 comments:

張怡 said...

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志穎志穎 said...

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