Home > Topics > China's Tibet
A Doomed Failure -- Beijing Review article on Dalai Lama
2007/10/08

    A Doomed Failure -- Beijing Review article on the Dalai Lama

    BEIJING, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- The following is a Beijing Review article on the Dalai Lama titled "A Doomed Failure", to be published on Monday:     

    As an increasing number of people visit Tibet, witness the region's changes and learn about its history and the thoughts of the local residents, many foreign media outlets have begun to reexamine the issue and question the Dalai Lama's motives. In a recent article, Yi Duo outlined those voices.

    REPRESENTATIVE OF A FEW

    The Dalai Lama can only represent a few Buddhists and it is therefore wrong to equate him to Buddhism, said some German media when he visited Germany as a religious leader in July. Welt am Sonntag and the online edition of Die Welt quoted sources from Deutsche Buddhistische Union as saying that though it is good to have the Dalai Lama speak for Buddhism, he is not expected to overshadow other Buddhist sects. The newspapers said most of the Buddhists across the world, including those in Germany, are not followers of Tibetan Buddhism. Also, the Dalai Lama advocates pessimism about the afterlife, a theory that runs counter to the optimistic Buddhist doctrine that self-cultivation in this world can lead believers to paradise in the other world.

    Some Germans who have been to Tibet have rejected the Dalai Lama's anti-China rhetoric. Der Spiegel magazine published a letter to the editor on July 23 saying those who had recently been to Tibet found what the Dalai Lama had done was ridiculous. Thousands of Tibetans offer their prayers in and near the Jokhang Monastery every day, the number of monks in temples is on the rise and many Buddhists travel to Lhasa to attend prayers from across China, the letter said. Another reader expressed bewilderment over the Dalai Lama. In a letter to Der Spiegel, he said the Dalai Lamahas attempted to become an "omnipotent pope." But why does he oppose the Christian doctrine of "improving the world" and insist on "overcoming the World?" The reader believes the Dalai Lama's ultimate goal remains elusive.

    Die Welt published an article coauthored by Victor Trimondi and Victoria Trimondi, in early August, criticizing Germans who consider the Dalai Lama the "Jesus Christ of the new era". It is wrong to take the Dalai Lama's religion as a moderate one, because the history of Tibet is far from peaceful, the article said. Tibet did not end its dark medieval period until the mid 20th century. Before that, it was plagued by violence, wars and power struggles under the name of religion. The religious trials held under the Lama regime were no different from those under the Catholic rule during the medieval days, it said.

    In Tibetan Buddhism, according to the article, disciples were required to strictly obey their masters, making it impossible for Tibetans to pursue individuality and independence, let alone create their own fate. Old Tibet was under an extremely hierarchical regime featuring the combination of political and religious power. Given these facts, Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama drew worldwide criticism in the late 1990s, the authors said. Even the Dalai Lama had to admit the dark side of Tibetan history, they added.

    The article revealed some fundamentalist features of Tibetan Buddhism, such as combined political and religious power, alienation of women, belief in devils, sexual and psychological abuse and corruption. The Dalai Lama voiced support for women's participation in religious leadership -- possibly becoming the next Dalai Lama -- in Hamburg. At the same time, he indicated that he had no right to grant religious posts to women.

    CAPITALIZING ON WESTERN FEARS

    The Dalai Lama clique's anti-China political propaganda has angered some Germans. Nicole Graaf, a German scholar of Tibetan studies, said in an article published by the Berlin-based Der Tages spiegel newspaper on July 22 that the Dalai Lama clique exercises strict "press censorship." All texts and pictures depicting the dark old Tibet and positive images of new Tibet have been taken out of its brochures, she said. For example, there is no mention of the armed offensive the Dalai Lama clique launched against China from Nepal with the help of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the 1960s or the cruel rule of Tibetan serfdom.

    She said the Dalai Lama's argument that China carries out "systematic cultural genocide" in Tibet is not valid. Despite the problems in China, Tibetan residents live normal religious, social and economic lives.

    The article said the Dalai Lama clique asks for financial aid from the West in the name of religion and human rights. However, instead of spending money on those badly in need of help, the leading members in the clique buy golden watches and luxurious cars for themselves with donations from the West while their sponsors know nothing about these deeds.

    It pointed out that the best approach to resolving the Tibetan issue is the real, lawful autonomy granted by the Chinese Government in the spirit of accelerating Tibet's economic development and improving the living standards and education levels of Tibetans. Anti-China propaganda will result in the Chinese Government's tightened control of foreigners' access to Tibet, the article warned. This will not only hinder the development of tourism but also make it more difficult for foreign countries to carry out welfare programs, worsening the situation of the local Tibetans, it said.

     A HOPELESS CAUSE

    India's Frontline biweekly magazine published a cover story by N. Ram tilted "Future Tibet" on July 14. The story was based on the author's second visit to Tibet this year. The "reality check" showed that China is in firm control and "Tibet independence" is a hopeless cause, he wrote. He said the effects of economic reform are conspicuous on Lhasa's streets, with their fast moving traffic, rising modern buildings and commercial complexes. However, the "real test" is in the countryside. He said there is visible evidence of economic development in the villages he visited.

    The most dramatic change since 2000 has come with the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the article said. The railway symbolizes the right of Tibetans to seek development, catch up with the rest of rising China, and open themselves more to the outside world. The author believes apprehension about the railway's adverse effects on the environment and wildlife has proved exaggerated. The real threat to Tibet's environment comes not from the railway but from global warming.

    The Chinese leadership has fashioned and finessed its strategy of dealing politically with the Dalai Lama and his followers over the past three decades, according to the article. Given the unprecedented economic growth, inclusive and nuanced sociopolitical and cultural policies in China, serious international political support for "Tibet independence" is non-existent, it said.

    The article called on the Dalai Lama and the "Tibetan government in exile" to modify their stands on two core issues. First, the concept of "high-level" or "maximum" autonomy in line with the "one country, two systems" principle is different from what the Chinese constitutional framework and the Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law stipulate. The kind of autonomy that the Dalai Lama demanded in 2005 cannot possibly be accommodated within the Chinese Constitution. Second, in responding to the demand for "one administrative entity" for all ethnic Tibetans, the Chinese Government makes the perfectly reasonable point that the Tibet Autonomous Region parallels the area under the former Tibetan regime. Acceptance of the demand for "Greater Tibet" means doing ethnic reengineering and causing enormous destabilization and damage to China's state, society, and political system.

    A MISERABLE FAILURE

    Australia's The Age newspaper published a bylined article titled "Behind the Dalai Lama's Holy Cloak" on May 23. The article pointed out that the Dalai Lama is no mere "spiritual leader." He was the head of Tibet's government when he went into exile in 1959. It was a state apparatus run by aristocratic, nepotistic monks who collected taxes, jailed and tortured dissenters and engaged in all the usual political intrigues, according to the article.

    "The government" set up in exile in India and, at least until the 1970s, received 1.7 million U.S. dollars a year from the CIA. The money was to pay for guerrilla operations against China, notwithstanding the Dalai Lama's public stance in support of nonviolence, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, the article said.

    The Dalai Lama himself was on the CIA's payroll from the late 1950s until 1974, reportedly receiving 15,000 U.S. dollars a month(180,000 U.S. dollars a year). The funds were paid to him personally, but he used all or most of them for activities of the "Tibetan government in exile," principally to fund offices in New York and Geneva and to lobby internationally.

    The article said there are certainly plenty of rumors among expatriate Tibetans of endemic corruption and misuse of monies collected in the name of the Dalai Lama. Many donations are channeled through the New York-based Tibet Fund, set up in 1981 by Tibetan refugees and U.S. citizens. It has grown into a multimillion-dollar organization that disburses 3 million U.S. dollars each year to its various programs. Part of its funding comes from the U.S. State Department's Bureau for Refugee Programs.

    "What has the Dalai Lama actually achieved for Tibetans inside Tibet?" it asked. "If his goal has been independence for Tibet or, more recently, greater autonomy, then he has been a miserable failure."

Suggest to a friend:   
Print