A Tibetan monk, Kelsang Tsultrim from Labrang monastery in the Amdo area of eastern Tibet, has recorded a video at great risk about his fears for the survival of Tibetan religion and culture, the crackdown over the past year, and calling for the return to Tibet of the Dalai Lama.
Kelsang Tsultrim identifies himself on the video as ‘Gyitsang Takmik,’ the township in Sangchu county in Ganlho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu province, where he is from. Kelsang Tsultrim is well known locally for his writings and published a book in 2008 called “Miyul la phulway Jamba,” or “Love dedicated to the human realm.” Part of the video was broadcast today on Voice of America’s Tibetan service and can be viewed online at: http://www.voanews.com/tibetan/2009-08-28-voa10.cfm
This is the second video made by a Labrang monk speaking out about the situation in Tibet following the demonstrations that began in the spring of 2008. Since then, the Chinese authorities have implemented across Tibet pervasive security and control measures and new campaigns directed against Tibetan culture and religion. Many Tibetans, undaunted by the risk of a harsh Chinese response, are finding ways to reach the outside world with accounts of repression in Tibet, and personal experiences of imprisonment and loss.
Jigme Guri (or Gyatso), a senior monk at Labrang monastery, was the first to speak out against the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese authorities and give his full identity on video. In the video, which was first broadcast on Voice of America in September 2008, Jigme Guri described his imprisonment and torture during a 42-day period from March 22, 2008. The video received international attention when it was uploaded on Youtube, and Jigme Guri was again taken into custody in November 2008 and detained in Lanzhou. He was released in May 2009 after two Chinese lawyers sought to defend his case: ICT report, Labrang Jigme, monk who gave torture testimony, returns home.
In the Kelsang Tsultrim video, ‘Gyitsang Takmik’ speaks to a handheld camera against the backdrop of a room in his monastery, saying: “The responsibility of our new generation is to protect our Tibetan identity, despite the repression and threats from the government. I am here today to speak the truth. Everyone has the right to speak the truth. The pain that I have in my heart is shared by all Tibetans, but we have no chance to express it living under Communist Party rule.”
Kelsang Tsultrim traces back the repression of Tibetans to two seminal events: the 1951 signing under duress of the 17-Point Agreement on the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, and the 1964-1977 imprisonment by the Chinese of the 10th Panchen Lama (who died in 1989 in Shigatse, Tibet). He refers to the marginalization of the Tibetan language, saying that sometimes ordinary Tibetans who go to government offices are reprimanded and called ‘animals’ for not being able to speak Chinese, and saying that there is strong racial discrimination against the Tibetan people.
Kelsang Tsultrim speaks with great emotion about the importance of the Dalai Lama returning home, saying: “His Holiness the Dalai Lama is very famous in the world today, everyone respects and honors him. But he is 74 years old now. He must miss his homeland very much because, when people become old, they miss home just as when birds get old, they want to return to their nests. Every Tibetan is hoping for His Holiness the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet and negotiate with the Chinese leadership in peace. That is the only wish of every Tibetan.”
Kelsang Tsultrim sheds new light on the aftermath of the protests that swept across Tibet from March 2008, to be met by a crackdown and comprehensive cover-up by the Chinese authorities. (ICT press release, A Great Mountain Burned by Fire)
He refers to the case of Tapey, a monk from Kirti monastery in Sichuan province who set himself on fire in February 2009 after a prayer ceremony was banned at his monastery, and the case of a monk from Ragya monastery in Qinghai province who died by jumping into the river after a period of detention.
He also speaks about raids on monasteries during which Dalai Lama images were trampled, following the protests last year, saying:
“We are not the criminals. Chinese rule is criminal. Even the Chinese government makes accusations against His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his Middle Way Approach, calling him and his supporters the “Dalai clique” and “separatists.” It is well known that the Middle Way of His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the best way to solve the problem between Tibet and China. It will bring benefit for both Tibetans and Chinese. But still, the Chinese government refuses it. How would the Chinese act if we Tibetans took the picture of Mao Zedong over the Tiananmen Gate and trampled it into the ground? And yet the Chinese authorities did this to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s photo many times in monasteries.”
A Tibetan monk who is now in exile in India and who is friends with Kelsang Tsultrim said: “Kelsang Tsultrim is a very educated and intellectual Buddhist monk. His writing is always based on the Tibet issue and the resentment of Tibetan people about Chinese failed policies inside Tibet. His magazine, a private publication entitled “Miyul la phulway Jamba” (“Love dedicated to the human realm”) is a strong expression of views about the reality of the human rights situation in Tibet under Chinese rule, and it is very much appreciated by its readers. He has put his life in risk to speak about the truth in his video.”
The video can be viewed at: http://www.voanews.com/tibetan/2009-08-28-voa10.cfm and will be uploaded onto Youtube
‘Gyitsang Takmik’s’ testimony is translated into English from the original Tibetan as follows:
(PART 1 – 2)
Tibetan brothers and sisters who share the same nationality and fortune, on this day in 2009 I take this risk to mark this year as the anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, the Boddhissatva for us, being in exile for 52 years, and of the 10th Panchen Lama being in a dark prison for 15 years. [2009 is also the 20th anniversary of the year of the 10th Panchen Lama’s death.] What I call my video is ‘A Report on the Human Rights Situation in Tibet.’ Whether Tibet survives or becomes extinct, I have become encouraged to voluntarily do something to realize the great struggle of Tibetans.
Freedom to me is a right entitled to every Tibetan in terms of preservation of culture, religion, tradition and in terms of maintaining the Tibetan way of life. It isn’t necessary to mention that Tibet is a territorial entity with its own unique history, way of life, and abundant cultural heritage. Tibet has been a unique entity since the time of the 33rd King of Tibet, Songtsen Ganpo, who is commonly recognized by all Tibetans.
However, because we all know what the Tibet of today is like, we have to bury our tears and grievances deep in our hearts. Freedom in Tibet was taken away in 1951 with the signing of what they called the “17-Point Agreement.” The so-called “17-Point Agreement” was signed with an ill-intentioned purpose. Speaking either in terms of narratives by those outside Tibet at the time, or according to those historical records by Tibetans, it was signed under duress, which is something everyone is clearly aware of. It is obvious that there was no conformity among the parties, be it the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama, or Mao Zedong, the then Chairman of the People’s Republic of China. Tibet was torn apart under these circumstances. In 1959, after China’s military invasion of Tibet, Tibet was officially occupied forcing His Holiness the Dalai Lama into exile on the day of March 17. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who to us Tibetans is like our eyes and our heart, decided to go into exile in order for the sun to rise again one day in Tibet. Following his escape, since March 22, 1959 there has been a violent crackdown and mass killing openly initiated by the invading forces of China, turning Tibet into a place where anyone who spoke the truth would be arrested and detained. So this is what they call the “Peaceful Liberation of Tibet.”
But how can it be called the “Peaceful Liberation of Tibet,” when thousands were killed and many more were detained, causing unprecedented social chaos in this once peaceful land? After that, and notwithstanding his own personal safety, the 10th Panchen Lama bravely submitted a “70,000 character Petition” during the Cultural Revolution, the time of madness and mass destruction of Tibetan identity and cultural tradition. His petition eventually led to a long period of detention, during which the humiliations and sufferings he faced were unimaginable. Basic freedoms have been so non-existent in Tibet that even a very important figure like the Panchen Lama was detained for simply speaking the truth.
From the early 1980s onward, a relative sense of freedom was beginning to return to Tibet in terms of recovering from the fatal destruction done to Tibetan culture and tradition. However, looking back over the last 50 years, what the Chinese think of the Tibetan people is very vividly described as “a seed growing out of blood” the Chinese have always defined Tibetans as enemies. This is because the Chinese do not want, nor are they interested in, the Dalai Lama, Tibetan culture, religion, or tradition. All they want and are interested in is the geographical area of Tibet, which is rich in natural resources. I think this is true considering those Chinese policies that have been implemented in Tibet, such as the birth control policy, and restricting monks from joining monasteries, etc. I think those policies are aimed at eventually eliminating the very Tibetan identity. As a Tibetan, I think we should seriously think about these implications.
Unable to work for the welfare of the Tibetan people, His Holiness the [17th] Karmapa also escaped to India [in 1999-2000] in search of a freedom that would guarantee him an environment in which he could really work for Tibetans. Likewise, Arja Rinpoche [former abbot of Kumbum monastery in Qinghai who defected to the US in 1998] was told by the Chinese government to invite the 11th Panchen Lama recognized by China to Kumbum Monastery. However, Arja Rinpoche argued that Tibetan culture and religious traditions should be respected, as clearly stated in the Chinese Constitution, and because of that he also had to leave Tibet. So by looking at these examples, it is obvious that there is no freedom at all in Tibet.
The Tibetan Government in Exile and Tibetan support organizations had been fighting for the independence of Tibet from 1959 until the 1970s. By the late 1970s, however, His Holiness the Dalai Lama began advocating the Middle Way Approach. What I understand of the Middle Way Approach is that it is genuinely based on achieving mutual benefit for both sides, a peaceful solution based on understanding.
The idea of the Middle Way Approach is generated from Buddhist teachings. It is a political approach to achieving a genuinely autonomous Tibet where Tibetans are guaranteed rights to preserve their own culture and maintain their own traditions and way of life within the framework of Chinese Constitution. All those guarantees for the rights of ethnic minorities are actually clearly stated in the Chinese Constitution, and thus the Middle Way Approach proposed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama is not contrary to Chinese law. Also, in 2005 Bapa Phuntsog Wangyal [the first Tibetan Communist, now in his eighties and living in Beijing] tirelessly wrote letters to President Hu Jintao, clearly stating that the Middle Way Approach is the best solution, that it is based on mutual benefits to the Chinese and Tibetan people, and that it is a far-sighted proposal for finding a peaceful solution to the Tibetan issue. Those letters by Phuntsok Wanggyal have been published in “New Generation.”
The situation in Tibet today is such that the Tibetan language has been marginalized to the point that all government offices only use Chinese as the official language. Sometimes, ordinary Tibetans who have to go to government offices are scolded and called animals by Chinese officials because they do not understand Chinese. Racial discrimination is prevalent everywhere. No Tibetan is spoken at meetings or used in government-related work. This is the conspiracy in the current policy. The kind of political conspiracy I understand it to be is one that is distorting history, and anyone who speaks the truth about it will be connected to this “conspiracy,” thus making anyone’s thoughts deemed to be politically incorrect. This clearly shows that there is no freedom, particularly for ethnic minorities.
I want to talk about this political conspiracy from two points of view: one where it is something that we can easily see, while the other is where it is taking place under the surface. The facet of the political conspiracy that we can easily see and feel is the high-handed policies of the Chinese government, while the other facet relates to the degeneration of Tibetan culture, and the economic and political environment.
I am now in my twenties and as far as I am concerned, I have never experienced a situation where a Chinese has pointed a gun at my head, nor have I ever experienced physical maltreatment from a Chinese person. However, as a Tibetan living in Tibet, the sufferings faced by my fellow Tibetans, needless to say, are my own sufferings. As I have pointed out above in terms of the degeneration of Tibetan culture, language and tradition, there is always an impartiality with those teachers’ concepts of teaching in schools in Tibetan areas.
So in the first aspect of this “political conspiracy,” students never get to learn what they are supposed to, making school just a kind of formality. Tibetan students never get the opportunity to properly learn professional skills in school. This situation emerges from policies aimed at systematically corrupting the future generation of Tibet in order to disempower them and make them unable to stand on their own feet.
Secondly, and in terms of mineral resources and the destruction of Tibet’s environment due to excessive mining, large amounts of resources that cannot be counted in terms of money have been transported to China. Everything in Tibet, including water from the three main rivers, the Drichu (Yangtze), Machu (Yellow) and Dzachu (Mekong), gold, and other valuable mineral resources are all taken to China. Also, many places in Tibet are used as a dumping site for nuclear waste. These are steps to undermine the very identity of Tibet. I am speaking these truths based on my own observations and understanding.
Speaking about the situation in nomadic areas of Tibet, a significant increase in the construction of Chinese styled houses has been carried out in the name of urbanization, centralizing nomads in towns and cities. The real motivation behind this is to fundamentally change the style of living of Tibetan nomads, the very culture of Tibetan nomads. Mao’s plan in the early days to migrate Chinese settlers to regions like Yushu and Golok have been restarted, with more and more Chinese migrants settling in Tibetan areas.
Speaking about the situation facing Tibetan farmers, they are forced to plant bushes in their fields; their right of choice is not at all respected, which is also a long-term political conspiracy of the Chinese government.
Freedom to preserve our Tibetan culture and religion has been completely restricted for 50 years, and these violations of our rights are rapidly accelerating as there is no respect paid to the laws in China’s Constitution on autonomy for nationalities. A Tibetan who loves Tibet should never let these restrictions define them. As is written in an article: “When we laugh, we laugh together, and when we mourn, we mourn together. It is time now to speak up for truth, justice, and the pain caused by the distorted propaganda and education that is getting more severe.”
So a Tibetan like Lobsang Tashi (Tapey), who set himself on fire because he was unable to bear all of the suffering [the Kirti monk who set himself on fire in February after the local authorities banned a prayer ceremony, his whereabouts is currently unknown]; like the monk from Ragya monastery [in Qinghai], who jumped into the river; like Jinpa and Thysum from Mayur who committed suicide after being tortured in prison; like Thupten Ngodup, a Tibetan in exile who committed suicide by setting himself on fire due to his desire for human rights; and like those Tibetans who have been killed and detained since last year’s protest: those Tibetans have sacrificed their lives for the Tibetan people’s cultural, traditional and economic rights. Even though Tibetans are terrified to speak up against those sufferings due to the heavy-handed policies and crackdowns on dissent, the resentment and grievances are always there deep down in the heart of every Tibetan.
Sometimes it is believed that a few people speaking up will not make a difference, but given the crisis we face in terms of the survival of our culture and identity, we must stand up. While the Tibetan people are living in constant fear and under such severe repression, it is unavoidably an obligation of the international community, including the UN, to pay attention to this. We should not be engaged in our own internal conflicts, but rather, we should be aware of the outside factors that threaten us. Our parents were killed, our sisters and brothers were killed, they all died for Tibet.
Tibet is not just a name, Tibet is more than that. Anyone who loves Tibet should do something and speak out. Following the example of Tibetans like Khenpo Jigme Phuntsog [the late senior lama from Larung Gar, Serthar], who dedicated his life to the preservation of Tibetan Buddhist culture, or like Kongthang Tsang who refused to accept the 11th Panchen Lama appointed by the Chinese government. They suffered a lot simply because of their love for Tibet. After these sacrifices, a Tibetan who indulges only in his or her own personal well-being is worse than an animal. We should always think of ourselves as an ethnic group with a vital cultural heritage and a tradition we should be proud of; however, this is dying out. We should realize that there is always a danger that the Tibetan ethnic group is going to be like today’s Manchurians who exist in this world by name only, and we should be aware that this is exactly how the Chinese policies are transforming the Tibetan ethnic group.
Today I am here speaking of these things, not as a hero of the nation or scholar, I am speaking as a Tibetan who is unable to bear what is going to happen [to Tibet]. Those senior officials, like the head of Gannan prefecture or county should really take it seriously. However, while it is understandable that it is really difficult for people who live in such a repressive environment to speak up, people are dying and there is no time to wait.
India gained its independence after being colonized by Britain for 200 years. Under Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership, many people sacrificed their blood for independence through the use of non-violence, so we Tibetans also should follow their steps.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is now 74, has been working tirelessly for the wellbeing of the Tibetan people. He also feels happiness and sadness, so as the proverb says: “People miss their home when they get old, birds miss their nest when they are old.” It is my biggest wish that there will be a reunion of all Tibetans soon.
The Middle Way Approach, which uses non-violent means in the hopes of achieving mutual benefit for both Tibetans and Chinese, is commonly recognized and supported worldwide. We Tibetans should also be able to stand on our own feet. How should we do this? It is, of course, difficult to ask lamas to do this or that, considering that they are also living under the gun which I mentioned above as in the example of Chadral Rinpoche, who was arrested simply for showing his objection to the recognition of the Chinese appointed 11th Panchen Lama.
It is the shared wish of all six million Tibetans to find a peaceful solution to the Tibetan issue through the Middle Way Approach, which is based on achieving mutual benefit and understanding for both Chinese and Tibetan people, as is proposed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and all Tibetans. However, the Chinese government has never taken it seriously.
Transcription (PART 3 – 4)
The Chinese government has said that Tibetan protesters killed many Chinese civilians during the unrest last year. In fact, it was the Chinese military that cracked down on peaceful Tibetan protesters. Many Tibetans sacrificed their lives for freedom. And while they hated the Chinese government, rather than resorting to violence these Tibetans used courage in the face of death to fight for freedom.
We have seen many things happen in other countries after the crackdown in Tibet, and how many lives were lost just as in Tibet last year due to the military, but Tibetan protesters did not use violence.
The only acts of violence committed by Tibetans were by those martyrs who set themselves on fire and those who committed suicide by jumping into rivers in the name of freedom. We Tibetans protest against Chinese rule because of the policies again us, an invisible destruction of the basic cultural, economic and political identity of the Tibetan people inside Tibet. This is not to say all Chinese people think this way, but the Communist government is more concerned with implementing its ambitious development policies rather than with the well-being of the Tibetan people. We cannot stand idly by as the government distorts the truth with its propaganda. I have no regrets if my life has to be sacrificed for my country and fair treatment of my people.
Despite the oppression of the Chinese government, what we have to do as Tibetans is come together and develop the ideas [and strategies] necessary to protect our cultural identity. And we have to choose our own way without being controlled by anyone else. It is not a given that we believe in the government’s distorted information, nor is it necessarily the case that we have to protest against it, as it is obvious that the government would deal such things with lethal force, causing the loss of more lives and Tibetans being hated by more Chinese. Even though tens of thousands of Tibetans have been killed by the Chinese military forces since they started occupying Tibet, we are not thinking that we should take more Chinese lives in order to avenge those lost Tibetans, who sacrificed their lives for truth and justice. So how can we hate the Chinese?
We are a new generation and we work for truth and justice despite the Chinese government that is willing to take the lives of more and more Tibetans. We are very committed to protecting truth and justice. I am standing in front of the camera here today [as evidence of this]. In the same way, many domestic publications in Tibet, including Shar Dung ri (The Eastern Mountain), Tsen po Nyiangtob (Dedication of (Tsenbo) Tibetan King), Nga shon sarba (New Generation), Nge phayul dang shevi Jiangdrol (My Homeland and Peaceful Liberation) as well as other publications outside Tibet, all contain that strong expression of the pain of Tibet and her people under Communist rule. [These are literary publications with Tibetan views about the protests and their consequences, and experiences of imprisonment and loss].
Many Tibetan intellectuals and educated people already understand what those books have expressed and revealed, but due to the threats of the Communist government’s rule very few people dare to pass on real information concerning the people inside Tibet. So many nomads and people living in rural areas simply don’t know about the Tibetan issue. Today I am here, facing danger, hoping that that my voice will reach those uneducated people inside Tibet and also the people around the world whose positive research approaches the reality on the ground inside Tibet. Therefore everyone, both Tibetans and people of the world, have the responsibility to make clear the distinction between right and wrong, and let people around the world see who was wrong and who made mistakes.
I am here today, and while I cannot encourage other people to speak out, I am determined to do whatever I can. Tibetan religious lamas should respect our real history, speak the truth, and work for it. Tibetan officials in Tibet should protect their positions and salaries given to them by the government, but must be concerned with the wellbeing of minorities, such as Tibetans. You should not accept your wages without upholding justice for the people.
We do not have freedom of religion and politics because most of the religious and political websites are full of propaganda that distorts the situation. We do not hate the Chinese, but we respect truth and justice. We were protesting against Chinese rule because the local authorities are not acting according to China’s Constitution and autonomy laws. The Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China said that China respects truth and justice. But Tibetans don’t have equal religious, political, and economic rights. So, many Tibetan people sacrificed their lives to protest against Chinese rule [over the past year], including myself here today, because we want equal human rights and freedom.
We will never give up our fight for freedom and truth until Chinese policies change regarding the implementation of the Constitution. We have been fighting for our freedom for more than 50 years, but the Chinese government has refused to hear us and ignored us until today. So far, the Chinese government has charged numerous Tibetans who love peace and truth under the criminal code with such crimes as being a counter-revolutionary and destroying social stability, putting them in prison for terms varying from 10-18 years to life.
In fact, we are not the criminals. Chinese rule is criminal. Even the Chinese government makes accusations against His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his Middle Way Approach, calling him and his supporters the “Dalai clique” and “separatists.” It is well known that the Middle Way of His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the best way to solve the problem between Tibet and China. It will bring benefit for both Tibetans and Chinese. But still, the Chinese government refuses it. How would the Chinese act if we Tibetans took the picture of Mao Zedong over the Tiananmen Gate and trample it into the ground? And yet the Chinese authorities did this to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s photo many times in monasteries. Did the Chinese government feel the pain of the Tibetan people? What would the followers of Christianity and other religions do if you vilify their leaders? Do you know how it feels to be accused of being a criminal? This is the only reason why Tibetans always call for people around the world to support justice and truth.
The return to Tibet of religious leaders such as the Karmapa, Arjia Rinpoche, Samdhong Rinpoche [the Tibetan Prime Minister in exile], and especially the leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, would build a positive, harmonious and peaceful society between Tibetans and Chinese. The return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama is fundamental to establishing harmony between China and Tibet.
Every Tibetan has the same thought that I just expressed because they love their country and their religious leader. However, they cannot speak those words in public without facing arbitrary arrests and a crackdown by authorities. The responsibility of our new generation is to continue to protect our Tibetan identity despite the repression and threats from the government. I’m here today to speak the truth, everyone loves and respects the truth, it doesn’t matter whether you are a religious person, or a politician, everyone has the right to speak the truth. The pain that I have in my heart is shared by all Tibetans, but we have no chance to express it living under Communist Party rule.
Little of Tibet will remain if the current situation under Chinese rule continues. Tibetans have not stopped voicing appeals for freedom for their country and people, but many of them have disappeared because of the lack of freedom in the region. Every Tibetan feels pain due to the destruction to the environment, extraction of natural resources, economic marginalization and social exclusion.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama had no choice but to flee the Chinese military forces in Tibet for the outside world, and has for more than 50 years been tirelessly working for our country and people through peace and non-violence. Tibet once had a population of six million, but now it only has four million after many were killed and birth control policies were implemented, on top of which is the effective transfer of Chinese into Tibet that is out-pacing the Tibetan birth rate in the region.
For example, the population in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu province had reached around 120,000 to 130,000 in 2003-2004, but in 2009 it is only 80,000 to 90,000. This same situation is happening to the Tibetan population throughout Tibet as well. The population of monks in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture was around 13,000 in 2004, but in 2009 there are only 8,000. This number was issued by the local authorities based on people’s identity cards, so they know how the population has reduced between these four years. Looking at these numbers, the troubling situation for Tibet’s culture and traditions is clear.
The Chinese people need birth control because it has a massive population, but not enough territory. We Tibetans do not need birth control, because we are an ethnic minority with only a very small population. The Tibetan territory takes up 40% of China, but with only four million Tibetan inhabitants. As for Chinese cities, such as the capital city of Gansu province, Lanzhou, the population has reached over 3,000,000. The whole of China has around 1.2 to 1.3 billion people, and therefore they could not survive on their own land due to the limited availability of shelter and food. So, the Chinese government’s policies in Tibet are aimed at killing native Tibetans and restricting their fundamental rights in order to absorb this ethnic group into the Han Chinese. However, Tibet has monks and nuns, whose vocation works to naturally control the Tibetan population.
The laws on national autonomy in the Chinese Constitution say to respect the fundamental rights of Tibetans, but the reality is completely different and our fundamental rights are not being respected at all. Tibet is governed as just another territory or region in the People’s Republic of China, but nothing is done to build the harmonious society that the government promotes. Tibetans have no psychological harmony because we have only pain inside due to Communist rule. His Holiness The Dalai Lama is very famous in the world today, everyone respects and honours him. But he is 74 years old now; he must miss his homeland very much, because when people become old, they miss home just as when birds get old, they want to return to their nests. Every Tibetan is hoping for His Holiness the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet and negotiate with Chinese leadership in peace. That is the only wish of every Tibetan.
However, the Chinese government does not treat Tibetans as human beings or allow us to revere His Holiness the Dalai Lama, or even call for his return. It will cause great heartache for Tibetans if His Holiness the Dalai Lama passes away outside of Tibet, because the connection between the Tibetan people and His Holiness the Dalai Lama is like the one between a child and their parents. Taking care of and protecting parents should be the responsibility of the children, but we Tibetans have not been able to do this for more than 50 years. We can only wear a fake smile for the Communist government in Tibet or risk imprisonment.
And the Western Development Program [‘Xibu da Kaifa’, Beijing’s economic strategy for the Western regions of the PRC, including Tibet], which has been underway for years in Tibet, maintains the same purpose as other policies, including the control of more resources through road construction in remote areas. This has not benefited the local Tibetan people, but rather, has benefited the Chinese migrants. The Western Development Program has brought a lot of new construction to Tibet, but this is owned by Han Chinese and rented by Han Chinese, so what benefits remain for local Tibetans?
Many people worry that Tibet will turn into Manchuria, which is what the Chinese government would like it to be. This is the only real opportunity to be a Tibetan freedom fighter and express the real situation to the world so the world will know what the Chinese government envisions for Tibet. Educated Tibetans and intellectuals cannot write the real history of Tibet because of restrictions on publishing Tibetan books, or hold artistic performances that deal with the reality of what is happening in Tibet, or conduct traditional religious activities, without the permission of authorities.
The authorities ban these types of practices because they know that these activities would clear people’s minds and reveal the truth when the façade created by the government’s propaganda is stripped away. I’m here today to express the pain inside me due to Chinese rule. This doesn’t mean that I am a good speaker, or that I’m very knowledgeable. But the pain inside me serves to motivate me to speak out regarding the fact that there is no freedom in Tibet.
For example, the peaceful protest this year at Lutsang monastery in Qinghai, and the student protest at Sangchu Tibetan Middle School. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China actually states that everyone has a right to demonstrate as long as they do not destroy the government’s or other people’s property. However, we saw with our own eyes the tight security and the pressure on the teachers at Sangchu school after the peaceful demonstration, in which the school director and some students were expelled. Most teachers did not receive their last pay check, and restrictions were put in place on the number of students allowed to attend university this year.
What appears in this video footage is the pain of the Tibetan people under Chinese rule, as well as facts about what has happened in Tibet in the past and what is going on in Tibet today.