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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Tibetan Writer Questions Beijing’s Version of Tibetan History

April 1, 2009

Propaganda to demonize old Tibet
By Zhang Nan
Voice of America
March 29, 2009

March 28 is the day that the regime celebrates
"Memorial Day of Liberating Millions of Serfs in
Tibet."  Beijing has intensified its criticism of
the Dalai Lama and “old Tibet.” Tibetan writer
Ms. Tsering Woeser commented that these media
reports and articles are only propaganda to demonize Tibet.

"Old Tibet was not at all a ‘Hell on earth’ as
Beijing describes it," said Woeser, "Back then,
every Tibetan including the nobles and officials
believed in Buddhism. It could not have been as
horrible as Beijing exaggerates."

Torture instruments were introduced to Tibet in Qing Dynasty

The official Chinese history depicts Tibet in the
past as a barbaric feudal serfdom. In past
Tibetan exhibitions held in Beijing, a requisite
demonstration would include torture instruments
used in Tibet such as cages, shackles, neck
pillory, stones, and knives used to dig out one's eyeballs.

According to Woeser, there were two very small
prisons in Lhasa, "They were only big enough for
about 20 prisoners. The prison management was
very loose. The prisoners could go outside and
beg for food. During the Tibetan New Year, the
prisoners were allowed to go home to be with
their families and come back thereafter."

Woeser said that the most brutal torture
instruments came from the inland- the imperial
envoys from the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1912) brought them to Tibet.

Not a single protest during the time "serfs living in hell"

"In Tibet’s history, unlike inland China, there
were never any large scale famines, people dying
from starvation or an uprising from the farmers.
However, if we look at Chinese history, there
were many uprisings that we all know about. In
Tibetan history, there was never a revolt due to suppression."

Woeser questioned that if old Tibet was "Hell on
Earth" and the reformed Tibet is Heaven on Earth,
why is it that in the past 50 years under
Beijing’s rule, protests and riots never cease?
“Last year the number of protests reached a
record high and they were all over Tibet, even
intellectuals and students stood up."

"First there were the several hundred people from
Northwest University for Nationalities in
Lanzhou, then it was Minzu University of China in
Beijing, and those in Qinghai and Chengdu. Not
just universities, there were protests in middle
and elementary schools. They began with sitting
protests; I think it was March 16 last year. They
held signs with slogans saying: ‘We want Human
Rights,’ ‘We want Freedom’, ‘Stop Killing
Tibetans.'" Woeser stressed that these protesters
are mostly offspring from the so-called serfs of the past.

When she was talking about the reasons Tibetans
protest, Woeser mentioned that recently a monk
from Ragya monastery jumped into the Yellow River
and killed himself during a police interrogation.
Woeser interviewed a senior lama from the same
monastery in 2007. According to the lama, the
monastery used to have more than 2,500 monks.
During the revolution against Beijing in 1958,
many of them were kicked out of the temple, some
were arrested and 800 of them were sent to a salt
mine in Tsaidam Basin to work as [slave] labor.
Only 100 of them returned. The lama’s younger
brother also jumped into the Yellow River to kill
himself during a ‘struggle’ in the Cultural Revolution.

Growing Up with Lies

Woeser also explained that she defended the old
Tibet not because of her background. She was not
an offspring from the hierarchy that owned almost
all the land in old Tibet. However, she has a
powerful political family background. Both her
parents are Chinese Communist Party members --
her father was a deputy commander in a military
subarea in Lhasa and her mother retired from the
Political and Legislative Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Woeser grew up watching movies about "serfs'
tragic lives" in Tibet. "With such education, I
believed in the [Chinese] government for a long
time. As I grew older and could think
independently, I started to question and look for
answers. I realized I had been deceived all this time."

Note: Ms. Woeser uses the term ‘old Tibet’ for
the period before the Chinese Communist Party’s occupation in 1950.

Article edited by The Epoch Times
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