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Chinese Propaganda Machinery and the Dalai Lama

August 7, 2009

Bhuchung Tsering
Tibet Report Blog
August 5, 2009

These are my thoughts for today as I monitor the
media reports coming out from China as well as
from the rest of the world on Tibet.

The Chinese authorities, or at least those who
have a vested interest in leaving the Tibetan
issue unresolved, seem to be desperate to paint
an image of declining  international interest in
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibet. One can
see this in constant churning of misinformation
coming out of China trying to give a distorted
picture. The fact that this version of the
situation comes out only through the official
Chinese media while the free press comes out with
a different version is being missed by the Chinese officials.

More interestingly, such disinformation from
Beijing are sometimes in the form of "news" and
at others in the form of "article" in the name of
some non-existing person called "Yedor." While on
"Yedor," did the Chinese propaganda people not
know that in Tibetan it means "casting away the
mind", which is indeed an apt definition of the
content of the writings under this name?

The latest such propaganda items are devoted to
the ongoing visit of H.H. the Dalai Lama to
Germany and Switzerland. While representatives of
the free media that have gathered in Switzerland
have been reporting from the field about "Sellout
crowds of 12,000 for two days of conferences
offered by the Dalai Lama" (just do an internet
search) or that "The Dalai Lama enjoys moral
authority in much of the world (AP from Lausanne,
Switzerland, August 5, 2009)," People’s Daily can
only moan from faraway Beijing (dateline) that
"Dalai Lama gets cold reception in Germany, Switzerland."

Of course, if the Chinese media is hinting at the
hesitation of the politicians to interact with
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, I am afraid the
"cold reception" is one that is being forced upon
these leaders than one that has been genuinely
evolved. For example, in the case of Switzerland,
the Chinese may be correct to assume (as the
People’s Daily did) that "In the past,
Switzerland boldly received the Dalai Lama as the
country has little influence on international
political strategies. The reason behind the
refusal lies in Switzerland’s new awareness of
China’s growing power in the global environment,
which cannot be ignored. Switzerland must
consider cooperating with China in order to
advance its national interests and safeguard its
economy and trade.” What better evidence do we
need than this to say that it is only through
brute political force that China is imposing its will on other governments.

On the other hand the 12,000 sell-out crowd in
Lausanne and those many who attended the events
in Germany have all spent quite a bit of their
money to travel to the venue and to purchase
entry tickets so that they can get an opportunity
to hear from the Dalai Lama. A look at the
website of the organizers of the events in
Lausanne says that all the tickets for the
two-day sessions were sold out. What would be the
situation if a Chinese leader were to give a
two-day talk in Lausanne and tickets were being
sold? At best, there may be just some business
type people who will buy the tickets, that too unwillingly.

So if these Chinese officials want to be petty
and continue with this childish act of making
others believe what they may be hoping for, it
only goes to show how unprepared China is to be a genuine superpower.

I want to believe that it is only the wrong sort
of leaders that are guiding the propaganda
machinery in China and that there are more
serious and understanding leaders in Beijing. If
that is so, it is time for them to speak up
before China loses any standing it has among the
people of the world, who ultimately count.
Otherwise, the outcome of any match between the
Chinese propaganda machinery and the Dalai Lama
before the international public opinion will be a
foregone conclusion. The Dalai Lama will be the gold medal winner.
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