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?
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