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The Distorted Image of Tibet (Part II)

September 23, 2008

Special interview with Chinese writer Ms. Zhu Rui

By Lin Caifeng
Epoch Times Staff Sep 22, 2008

Below is the second part of an Epoch Times interview with Chinese writer
Ms. Zhu Rui about her views on Tibet, the Tibetan people and their
culture. Please also read The Distorted Image of Tibet (Part I)

My Work in Tibet: An Interview With a Master of Farm Slaves

After my first visit to Tibet, I started to create literary works
featuring Tibet. Invited by the Society of Literary and Art Workers of
Tibet Autonomous Region, I came to Tibet again and worked for the
editorial department of the "Tibet Literature" . During this period, I
took the opportunity to interview a master of farm slaves, a former
Tibetan aristocrat who was referred to in the Chinese Communist regime’s
propaganda materials.

Only then did I realize that Tibetan aristocrats are kindhearted, and
every aristocratic family has a Buddha-worshipping hall. Worshipping
Buddha and doing something good are major parts of their daily routines.
In the past, many aristocratic families also offered food to beggars and
wandering monks at their front doors every day. They would even
generously meet the demands made by ruffians and those who goofed around
if they came to their homes to beg for food during the Tibetan New Year.

In Tibet, beggars and poor people have never been discriminated against
since Buddha Shakyamuni had been in that situation in the past.

The author of Seven Years in Tibet, Heinrich Harrer, who was an Austrian
mountaineer, escaped to Tibet after he was arrested by the Indian
authorities in the wake of Germany’s being defeated inWorld War II. When
he first arrived at Lhasa, he looked extremely awful, but an aristocrat
invited him to his household. Besides helping him have a bath and
haircut, the family also offered him new clothes. He was also invited to
all the aristocratic families one after another, including the Dalai
Lama’s mother. That’s why he maintained a good friendship with the Dalai
Lama all his life.

After I associated with Tibetan aristocrats, I strongly felt their
innate quality of compassion. I thus started to reflect on some of my
own conventional notions. Their behaviors were absolutely different from
that of the Chinese regime's propaganda. Of course, there might be some
rotten apples in every group in the world, and some individual Tibetan
aristocrats might not be so good, but I have not met them so far.
Nonetheless, when an atypical case was portrayed by the regime as a
common phenomenon, it was spread widely, and became a scheme to deceive
and fool the Chinese people purposely. To the overwhelming majority of
the Chinese people, Tibet is a remote territory, and the only channel
for them to know Tibet’s situation is the Chinese authorities’ propaganda.

There were various reasons for me to become interested in Tibet first
and then to have passion for it afterward. Among others, I was very much
moved by the Tibetans’ frankness, truthfulness and the mentality of
allegiance. These traits are different from the Chinese people nowadays
who always take into consideration their personal interests before doing
anything. Tibetans are very intelligent, and are not as sly as the
Chinese today.
Han People in Tibet

There are four categories of Han people living in Tibet. The first
category is the cadres sent to work in Tibet. The second category is
construction contractors and workers who were recruited from Sichuan and
other provinces to construct Han-style buildings in the wake of the
demolishing of many ancient Tibetan buildings. The third category is
small business operators and vendors who moved to Tibet from the
adjacent regions in Sichuan Province as they couldn’t make a living
there due to the high unemployment rate. The fourth category is a small
group of people who went to Tibet because of an interest in Tibetan
culture, which is mainly composed of painters, artists and writers.

These artists would rather give up their comfortable lives in the
hinterland of China and went to Tibet because they really love the
culture there. In addition to their respect for Tibetan culture, they
clearly know what is going on there. But they would never mention it, as
they want to survive the atrocious rule by the Chinese Communist regime.

The vast majority of those who moved to Tibet did not understand Tibet,
and their entering Tibet has resulted in damage to Tibet in various
aspects. Take those small business operators and vendors for instance.
They brought substandard commodities to Tibet from the hinterland of
China. The goods many nomadic people came all the way from remote areas
to buy from the market often turned out to be substandard. For instance,
the thermos they bought cannot keep water warm and the footwear they
bought was worn out in a few days.

Those Chinese construction contractors, workers, business operators, and
vendors are mixed with Tibetans, but the Han people don’t appreciate or
respect Tibetan culture at all. With the Chinese regime’s vicious
propaganda against Tibet over the past years, they regard Tibetans’
unsophisticated traits as something underdeveloped, and the
steadfastness of their belief as superstition.

The household where I stayed was on Barkhor Street in the old town of
Lhasa, where many Chinese small business operators and vendors live
nowadays. These merchants just dry their underpants and vests in the sun
in front of Tibetan families’ Buddha-worshipping halls, irrespective of
the fact that it would hurt Tibetans.

When I had a meal at small Chinese restaurant run by Han people from
Sichuang Province during my first visit to Tibet, I asked the operator
of the restaurant for the direction to Barkhor Street. It turned out
that he warned me: “You’d better not go to Barkhor Street, as there is
nothing meaningful you can see there. You should stay away from
Tibetans, since they are not well-educated, If you approach them, you
will be in danger.”

With this mentality, Han Chinese people find it difficult to associate
with Tibetans. This is why the Dalai Lama didn’t want too many Han
people migrating to Tibet. For one thing, it might deepen the conflicts
between the two races, and for the other, Tibetan culture would be
damaged tremendously.

Original Chinese Article:
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