Archive for March, 2009

Tibetan Writer Questions Beijing’s Version of Tibetan History Propaganda to demonize old Tibet

March 29, 2009

March 28 is the day that the regime celebrates “Memorial Day of Liberating Millions of Serfs in Tibet.” Beijing has intensified its criticism of the Dalai Lama and “old Tibet.” Tibetan writer Ms. Tsering Woeser commented that these media reports and articles are only propaganda to demonize Tibet.

“Old Tibet was not at all a ‘Hell on earth’ as Beijing describes it,” said Woeser, “Back then, every Tibetan including the nobles and officials believed in Buddhism. It could not have been as horrible as Beijing exaggerates.”

Torture instruments were introduced to Tibet in Qing Dynasty
The official Chinese history depicts Tibet in the past as a barbaric feudal serfdom. In past Tibetan exhibitions held in Beijing, a requisite demonstration would include torture instruments used in Tibet such as cages, shackles, neck pillory, stones, and knives used to dig out one’s eyeballs.

According to Woeser, there were two very small prisons in Lhasa, “They were only big enough for about 20 prisoners. The prison management was very loose. The prisoners could go outside and beg for food. During the Tibetan New Year, the prisoners were allowed to go home to be with their families and come back thereafter.”

Woeser said that the most brutal torture instruments came from the inland- the imperial envoys from the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1912) brought them to Tibet.

Not a single protest during the time “serfs living in hell”
“In Tibet’s history, unlike inland China, there were never any large scale famines, people dying from starvation or an uprising from the farmers. However, if we look at Chinese history, there were many uprisings that we all know about. In Tibetan history, there was never a revolt due to suppression.”

Woeser questioned that if old Tibet was “Hell on Earth” and the reformed Tibet is Heaven on Earth, why is it that in the past 50 years under Beijing’s rule, protests and riots never cease? “Last year the number of protests reached a record high and they were all over Tibet, even intellectuals and students stood up.”

“First there were the several hundred people from Northwest University for Nationalities in Lanzhou, then it was Minzu University of China in Beijing, and those in Qinghai and Chengdu. Not just universities, there were protests in middle and elementary schools. They began with sitting protests; I think it was March 16 last year. They held signs with slogans saying: ‘We want Human Rights,’ ‘We want Freedom’, ‘Stop Killing Tibetans.’”Woeser stressed that these protesters are mostly offspring from the so-called serfs of the past.

When she was talking about the reasons Tibetans protest, Woeser mentioned that recently a monk from Ragya monastery jumped into the Yellow River and killed himself during a police interrogation. Woeser interviewed a senior lama from the same monastery in 2007. According to the lama, the monastery used to have more than 2,500 monks. During the revolution against Beijing in 1958, many of them were kicked out of the temple, some were arrested and 800 of them were sent to a salt mine in Tsaidam Basin to work as [slave] labor. Only 100 of them returned. The lama’s younger brother also jumped into the Yellow River to kill himself during a ‘struggle’ in the Cultural Revolution.

Growing Up with Lies
Woeser also explained that she defended the old Tibet not because of her background. She was not an offspring from the hierarchy that owned almost all the land in old Tibet. However, she has a powerful political family background. Both her parents are Chinese Communist Party members- her father was a deputy commander in a military subarea in Lhasa and her mother retired from the Political and Legislative Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Woeser grew up watching movies about “serfs’ tragic lives” in Tibet. “With such education, I believed in the [Chinese] government for a long time. As I grew older and could think independently, I started to question and look for answers. I realized I had been deceived all this time.”

Note: Ms. Woeser uses the term ‘old Tibet’ for the period before the Chinese Communist Party’s occupation in 1950.

Article edited by The Epoch Times

Read original article in Chinese