Thursday, November 01, 2007
GUILTY: OF SPEAKING HIS MIND
ummer is the Tibetan season for outdoor festivals and horse racing competitions, but even these cultural events are not free of politics in an occupied country.
On August 1 of this year, such an event was held near the town of Lithang, in eastern Tibet (now subsumed into the Chinese province Sichuan - about two-thirds of historic Tibet has been carved off and distributed to various Chinese provinces).
A Tibetan nomad named Ronggyal Adrak took to the stage and addressed the throng of Tibetan horse racing enthusiasts, calling for the return of Dalai Lama to Tibet. After he was detained by Chinese police, Lithang residents and visiting nomads beseiged the town in large numbers, demanding his release. Thousands of Chinese troops then descended on the region to quell the protests.
Now Ronggyal Adrak has been found guilty in a Chinese court. The Tibetan nomad defended his choice of words to the court.
“The main reason was that there is nobody in Tibet who does not have faith in, loyalty to, and the desire to see the Dalai Lama,” he told the court. “On the contrary, the Chinese government sends out propaganda saying that the Tibetans inside Tibet have no desire to meet him and have lost faith in him.”Speaking his conscience was a "very severe" crime. Judges must of course be members in good standing of the Communist Party, which is why they sound like government spokesmen. Dalai Lama has not called for independence since the late 1970's, and has consistently asked for discussions on genuine autonomy within China ever since.
“That is wrong, and we have no freedom to say so.”
The judge told Ronggyal Adrak that his crimes were “very severe.”
“You committed the crime of subverting the People’s Republic of China. The Dalai Lama, for whom you called for a long life and his return to Tibet, is the same person who is conniving with different foreign leaders and organizations to split our country through a variety of means and methods,” the judge said.
The judge also slammed Ronggyal’s nephew, Adruk Tseten, for “talking to all kinds of media in the world and responding to their questions,” actions which had damaged China’s international image, he said.It sounds like the judge would like to make "responding to media questions" a crime too. Of course, the worst crime in the world for the forever-ruling Party, is to damage China's image. When will the Party understand that no one damages China's image more than themselves?
The Chinese authorities conducted a massive "Patriotic Education Campaign in Lithang at the beginning of September, featuring mandatory political training in Chinese communism for monks and nuns. The indoctrination involves forcing "trainees" to write denunciations of Dalai Lama and to accept that Tibet has always been a part of China. They are "educated" to accept that the Chinese "peaceful liberation" of Tibet has been of tremendous benefit, and that under the Communist Party's patronage, Tibetans are now leading a happy and contented life.
There have been more arrests (and torture) of monks in the area through September and October for outwardly expressing disagreement with the indoctrination, or for having pictures of Dalai Lama or the true Panchen Lama (who the Chinese have held hostage at an undisclosed location for 12 years) on their private altars. Many monks and nuns have been expelled from the monasteries, and even children attending a school managed by Lithang Monastery were expelled and sent home.
And some people think the Cultural Revolution is over.
The Chinese government lambasted Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper a few days ago, with words they wouldn't dare use on Angela Merkel or George W. Bush. Harper's meeting with Dalai Lama (now an honourary Canadian citizen) was dubbed "disgusting conduct" which had "seriously hurt the feelings" of Chinese people.
Very excellent, Stephen. That's one you should frame for your office.