Democracy in Exile – Yea, Right!

I read a misleading post at Global Voices that was titled China and Tibet: Democracy in Exile. My first thought was, “When was Tibet ever a Democracy?”

I also thought about double standards and hypocrisy, which I’ll get to later.

Here’s what the author said in the first sentence at Global Voices, “Being a Tibetan in exile is a loss that manifests in many forms: the loss of homeland and natural rights fall within that.”

What were those natural rights that were lost?

Most Tibetans in exile gave up land and millions of serfs who were treated no better than slaves. What was lost were positions of power and wealth.

Before 1950, when Mao’s Red army occupied Tibet, there had been no democracy or republic in Tibet – ever.

The next quote shows Tibet before 1950.

“Lamaism is the state religion of Tibet and its power in the Hermit Country is tremendous. Religion dominated every phase of life.… For instance, in a family of four sons, at least two, generally three, of them must be Lamas. Property and family prestige also naturally go with the Lamas to the monastery in which they are inmates.

“Keeping the common people or laymen, in ignorance is another means of maintaining the power of the Lamas. Nearly all of the laymen (serfs) are illiterate. Lamas are the only people who are taught to read and write.”  Source: October 1912 National Geographic Magazine, page 979.

Between 1912—when those words appeared in National Geographic—and 1950, Tibet did not change.

What we have in Global Voices is clever manipulation to elicit support for the Tibetan separatist movement.

In fact, Tibetans have the same chance to be free from China as Hawaiians have of being free of the United States. There is a separatist movement in Hawaii and the circumstances of Hawaii and Tibet being occupied and ruled by nations that are more powerful is similar.

The only difference is that a reluctant Tibet was ruled over by the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties from 1277 to 1913 when Great Britain convinced Tibet to break from China at the same time the Qing Dynasty was collapsing.

See Why Tibet?


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

4 Responses to Democracy in Exile – Yea, Right!

  1. Terry K Chen says:

    Why do western celebrities like to talk about politics so much? Most of the time its obvious that they have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. There are many ways to get publicity. They could donate lots of money to a charity or just get involved in social activities.

    Generally speaking, the celebrities in China shy away from political topics, especially if they are controversial. For example when Jackie Chan (who’s known for being a patriot) was asked about the tibet issue, here is his reply.

    Jet Li also didn’t delve too deep into the issue when asked by the same interviewer.

    Unfortunately, some chinese people are also getting tricked and deceived by western media.

    • Terry asked, “Why do western celebrities like to talk about politics so much?”

      It’s the “freedom of speech” thing in the U.S. Many have no idea why that was written into the Bill of Rights.

      What’s interesting is that many famous movie actors only have high school educations or majored in theater arts or some other liberal arts degree. Most are not historians or experts in political science.

      Theses celebrities have opinions (just like most Americans) influenced by whatever politics they follow and by what they read or hear in the Western media. However, many of them have no idea that what they believe is an opinion. Many believe it is the truth and since they have millions of fans, they take advantage of that freedom of speech to influence how others think.

      Most have no idea that “freedom of speech” was to protect citizens against the government punishing a citizen that criticizes a powerful elected official such as the president. “Freedom of Speech” has been abused when famous celebrities state their opinions as if they are facts.

      Of course, everyone has a right to an opinion but many lose sight of what an opinion is and when those same people don’t want to spend the time it takes to research those opinions to see how true they are, we have a problem. When that happens, the celebrety is abusing his or her fame to push personal political agendas.

  2. Terry K Chen says:

    People who live in tibet have told me that tibetans and han Chinese there are ok living alongside each other. Besides, many tibetans consider themselves Chinese, unlike natives in Hawaii. During 1912-1951, many tibetans were opposed to tibet’s independence. The 9th and 10th panchen lama’s both fought hard for tibet’s reunification with China, but we seldom hear of this.

    • Terry,

      This topic would make an interesting post, but I doubt that anyone that has been brainwashed by the Tibetan Separatists alternate reality from a different universe would accept anything from any source if it doesn’t come as a fictional truth from the Dalai Lama and his “government in exile” and the Richard Gere’s of the world that worship him.

      The Tibetan Separatists have taken a page from Hitler’s Nazis and America’s Neoconservatives that if you send your message ( considered noble lies to them) enough, those lies will become the truth (to many people).

      In today’s world, the truth, even supported by facts, does not count for everyone.

      In fact, in today’s world of journalism (mostly controlled by 6 Western corporations such as Murdock’s News Corp—a century ago there were thousands of independently owned newspapers and radio stations) and Blogs, the truth is not important.

      However, it is controlled.

      Today, it is the ‘journalism of affirmation.’ and the reason we call it that is because today’s media (traditional and Internet media of any type) make money or build an audience by assembling a crowd — their audience — by affirming the preconceptions (already existing individual biases) of that audience by telling them what they already want to hear.

      The best we can do is to build an audience that is open minded and wants to be convinced that there is another side to what the “loud” mouth liars keep shouting from their soap boxes.

Comments are welcome — pro or con. However, comments must focus on the topic of the post, be civil and avoid ad hominem attacks.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: