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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

TA's Response to Chinese Government Allegations: Part Five

October 14, 2008

Tibet.net
October 13, 2008

Ever since peaceful protests erupted in Tibet, starting from 10
March, the Chinese government used the full force of its state media
to fling a series of allegations against the "Dalai Clique". These
allegations range from His Holiness the Dalai Lama masterminding the
recent Tibet protest to His Holiness the Dalai Lama making attempts
to restore feudalism in Tibet.

This is the fifth and last in a series of response by the Central
Tibetan Administration (CTA) to these accusations.

The Chinese translation of this response will be available later at
www.xizang-zhiye.org The Tibetan translation is available on the
Tibetan edition of this website www.tibet.net/tb/

Part Five: Monasteries, Weapons and Terrorism

As the Tibetan protests -- popularly known as the March incident --
unfolded on the Roof of the World, the Chinese government relied on
brute force to silence the Tibetan voices, leading to a large number
of peaceful Tibetan demonstrators being arbitrarily arrested, beaten,
tortured, killed and disappeared. In order to justify their heinous
actions, various functionaries of the Chinese establishment have been
spewing various and sundry lies to pass the buck of the unrest in
Tibet to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his exile Administration.
China has, employing the full force of its state media and the Public
Security Department, ratcheted up its external propaganda efforts to
sell its lies to — or rather misinform — the international community
that "large quantities of weapons (guns, knives, spears, etc.) have
been hidden in the monasteries of Tibet, and these bear evidence of
the violent nature of the Tibetan people."

In a press meeting held on 1 April, the spokesperson of China's
Public Security Department, Wu Heping, said: "We have found a
considerable number of weapons, including guns, in some of the
monasteries in Lhasa."

Again, the 10 April issue of Sichuan Daily carried a long story --
which appears to be nothing more than a trumped-up one — about the
authorities having conducted a raid on the Kirti monastery [located
in Ngaba (Ch. Aba) Tibetan Autonomous County in Sichuan Province]
and, as a result of it, their having confiscated 30 guns and 33
swords from that monastery. The piece also alleges that these weapons
testify to the Tibetan people's indulgence in violence.

In reality, all these constitute nothing but a mad behaviour on the
part of the Chinese military to blame the Tibetan people for
something they are not responsible at all. In a frenzy of madness,
they have committed what can be described as an aggravated burglary
by making their intrusive entry into the Tibetan monasteries and
taking away swords, spears, or other symbolic implements closely
associated with the pantheon of wrathful deities — tutelary or
protective — belonging to the Tibetan spiritual world. In order to
link the Tibetans to violence, they have also forcibly taken away
explosives bought by Tibetan labourers with due permission from the
relevant authorities for construction purposes.

Monastic institutions -- as everybody knows -- are not just the
centres of learning for the ecclesiastical community; these are also
the main repositories of the ancient artefacts and cultural relics of
Tibet. Moreover these monasteries are, for the Tibetan people, the
ultimate places for seeking spiritual refuge. A monastery has
assembly halls, temples, libraries, printing houses, chapels housing
protective deities and fierce spirits, etc., all of which have their
own unique identities and functions. For example, Protector Shrine is
the place where a devotee makes his or her offerings to the
protective deities. Here, one will come across numerous wrathful
images of Dharma-protecting and guardian deities. Each of these
deities carries symbolic implements such as swords and spears, which
is unique to — and identifiable with — that particular deity. These
implements are attributed to the concerned deities by historical
tradition; it is not something that came into being after the
communist Chinese set foot in Tibet.

If the Chinese government is audacious enough to claim -- based on
these symbolic implements of the protective deities they have
confiscated from the monasteries — that the Tibetan clergy is
violence-oriented, then what do they have to say about the Buddhist
temples or monasteries in China, where the sculpted images of the
Four Worldly Kings, or the Jikas Gods, holding symbolic implements
like swords, bow and arrow, long spears, etc., are hung on the doors?

Similarly, in most of the Chinese monasteries, images of Guangong (a
historical warrior figure) are erected as local deities or guardians.
These images also carry symbolic implements such as long swords and
spears. Do these, then, not indicate that Hashangs — or the Chinese
priests — are making preparations for violence?

Looking back into Tibetan history, there were numerous incidents
where Tibetan hunters and butchers had pledged to give up their
profession of killing, or slaughtering, animals by wilfully offering
their weapons such as guns and knives to the monasteries. Likewise,
there were many cases where the two feuding communities, families, or
even individuals, had decided to end their animosity by offering
their weapons to the mediating monasteries. The monasteries, in turn,
accept these weapons gladly so that these do not fall in the hands of
wrong persons and store — or sometimes display — them in the chapels
housing protective deities and fierce spirits as a way of encouraging
other people to tread the same path of non-violence. This tradition
among the Tibetan people is indeed laudable. However, the Beijing
government presents these very weapons looted from the monastic
stores as evidence before the international community to prove that
the Tibetan monks are harbouring an evil desire to revolt against
China. This behaviour of the Chinese government is — far from being a
civilised one — akin to the behaviour of a brigand.

In sum, the Chinese government -- while looking down upon, or showing
scant respect to, Tibet's unique culture, customs and traditions,
etc. — goes about doing anything that it feels like doing by
conducting raids on the Tibetan monasteries and taking away the
treasured possessions, including the statues of deities adorned with
expensive jewelry, of these monasteries. Still, Beijing blames the
Tibetan clergy for violence, which, in fact, was a peaceful
expression of their discontentment. Devoid of truth and reason, this
whole drama of having found large quantities of weapons in Tibetan
monasteries — as if these monasteries are preparing for a war against
the Chinese regime — is nothing but an exaggerated account of the
current unrest in Tibet.

TYC and Al Qaida

The state media launched a barrage of propaganda that tried to link
some parts of the "Dalai clique" with Al-Qaida and the East Turkestan
Independence Movement. For example, in the first week of May, a
Tibetologist who goes by the name of Liu Hongji wrote a piece in
Xinhua, the official news agency, in which he stated, "The TYC has
become a terrorist organization as concepts of violence have taken
root within it...The group's shadow was evident when the police
confiscated a large number of guns and ammunition in some monasteries
in China's Tibetan-inhabited regions after the March 14 riot," the
scholar said.

We cannot speak on behalf of the Tibetan Youth Congress. The TYC is
more than capable of speaking for itself. We are making these
comments in so far as China includes the TYC in its broad and
all-encompassing term, "the Dalai clique." To call a
democratically-elected organisation a "terrorist" with links with
Al-Qaida is based on the assumption that those who hear this claim
are total fools or is an attempt to harden the Chinese leadership's
attitude to the Tibetans. Whatever the real reason for making such
absurd claims, the truth is that the TYC is based in India, an open
and plural society where free flow of information is cherished. This
allows the concerned authorities of India to make an informed
judgment of organizations that flout, or does not flout, the laws of
the host country. Till now, the Government of India in its considered
judgment has not declared the TYC as a terrorist outfit and within
the exile Tibetan community the youth body is recognised as a
respected organization.

Begging More Questions than Answers

A section of the Chinese leadership's shrill denunciation of the TYC
as a terrorist organization stands in sharp contrast to the
leadership's dismissive attitude to the same organization in the
early 1980's. In those days, the TYC was dismissed as a "fly flapping
its wings against the king of the mountains."

Why has a humble fly metamorphized into a "terrorists" organization
in the eyes of the Chinese leaders?

The answer lies with the hardliners in the leadership. They want
China, the whole leadership and the Chinese people, to recognize the
"Dalai clique" as a "terrorist" organization so that they could deal
with it accordingly.

But before the wiser section of the leadership and the Chinese people
as a whole are convinced by both the arguments and the evidence
produced by the hardliners, they need answers to some questions.

The first question is, if the arms found in the monasteries are truly
smuggled by TYC into Tibet under the very noses of the Public
Security Ministry, the PLA, the PAP and China's well-placed
informers, why weren't transaction prevented in the first place?
China has put in place the tightest restrictions on the movement of
people, ideas and goods anywhere else in the world. Why did the
shipment of such large catchement happen in the first place? Isn't
this a major dereliction of duty on the part of China's security forces?

Let us for the sake of argument assume that the TYC was smart enough
to ship these arms under the noses of the ever vigilant Chinese
security forces into Tibet, why were these let to be allowed into the
monasteries without the security forces noticing? The monasteries in
Tibet are placed under intrusive survelliance and why were the
presence of these weapons in the monasteries not known to the
authorities? And why bring out these weapons only when protests took
place in Tibet. Isn't it the duty of the security forces to catch
"criminals" and expose their "crime" as and when they happen? Why
wait this long?

Where were these weapons made? Usually, the brand of the weapons
would give clear indication of the source of the weapons. Why has not
the spokesperson for the Public Security Ministry informed the
international media where the weapons came from?

PLA Soldiers in Monks' Robes

The Chinese government accuses His Holiness the Dalai Lama of being
"a wolf in monk's robes." Ever since the 1959 Tibetan Uprising, the
PLA soldiers have been in the habit of doing exactly this: posing as
Tibetan monks in order to sow dissension, create distractions and to
serve as agents provocateur to incite un-suspecting Tibetan masses
into actions that justify quick, military response.

For example, in a book (published in 1992 by the DIIR) about the
suffering of the Tibetans in Chinese prisons, a former treasurer of
Namgyal Monastery, Venerable Gyaltsen writes that during the 1959
Uprising in Lhasa, Chinese soldiers dressed as Tibetans climbed the
Chokpori, next to the Potala Palace and burned incense and strung
prayer flags so as to give the impression to the Tibetan public that
the Tibetan side had won in the fighting in Lhasa. This was also done
to draw out the Tibetan fighters from their hideouts to make it
easier for the PLA soldiers to shoot at them.

On 5 March 1988, Tibetans staged a massive protest demonstration on
the streets of Lhasa. At the time, the Chinese government ordered a
large number of Chinese officials and soldiers to disguise as Tibetan
monks and lay Tibetans and deployed them throughout the city. This is
based on an account given by Venerable Bhagdro, a former political prisoner.

During the 1989 demonstrations in Lhasa, the Chinese government camp
up with the strategy of waging a four-pronged war on Tibetan
protestors. As part of this strategy, about 300 Chinese agents and
spies were planted within the Tibetan clergy and general public. On
the morning of 5 March, they were made to go to the Barkhor and other
troubled areas of Lhasa to help the regional and city public security
bureaus in deliberately creating disturbances. Their plans included
the following: 1) to set aflame the great prayer flag –Gaden Darnyon
and Shar Kyareng Darchen – erected at the north-east of the Jokhang
Temple, 2) to encourage the local Tibetan residents to destroy and
loot the Lhasa Municipality's Grain Store and the Tibet-Gansu Joint
Emporia. This information comes from a book written by Tang Daxian.
The book is called The Bayonet Pointed Directly at Lhasa and has been
translated into Tibetan and published by the DIIR in 1992.

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