Viewing a UK press report on Tibet, it’s easy to see the world through journalists eyes. They go into war-torn territory to give you the facts and the blood-soaked truth of countries ravished by natural disasters, uprisings and turmoil. We have grown to accept what is brought to us, trusting that these people, these journalists, are being honest about the world in which they are reporting. In truth it can never be like this. This is because the truth is highly subjective.
When we see publishers and editors in real life, they have a duty to fulfill. They report to their bosses, who are the key shareholders and corporate managers of the organisation. It’s not difficult to see how a story will become biased, to one side or another. This is life. We all have vested interests. Reporters are supposed to swear to some such a set of ethics but they can never do so while they retain any sense of individual persona. Therefore, every person will have vested interests, whether they like it or not. Getting back to the story at hand, I am about to illustrate how the story being told is not as it seems and may be even more extraordinary if one were to look at its motives.
Tensions in China and Tibet
Tibet is currently fighting for independence as large numbers of Tibetan Buddists are setting themselves on fire to protest against China denying their independence and forcing them to follow a Chnese-led programme for restucturalisation and distribution of power.
China gets a bad rep for its obvious headstrong approach to policy. A one-party communist government and strict dictatorship plus censorship has left the west’s journalists to pull China up about this when a news item is viewed in relation to human rights. This is only true when viewed through the looking glass of western journalists. The get-out clause which has worked thus far is; China doesn’t allow its own citizens to speak out about its human rights issues due to its strict censorship.
Human Rights, Human Wrongs
It is also true that the issue of human rights is highly subjective, with the ideology of personal freedoms defining what is oppressive, suppressive or criminal. In China, violent crime is non-existent – in Europe, it is much more common. In China, the police are permitted to use force and executions of criminals is common – in Europe, police are subject to much moral observation and scrutiny and the death penalty has been abolished for some time now.
The differences are quite severe and as a European, I, of course, feel strongly about defending my personal freedoms. These are cultural and illusory feelings. They stem from a point of reference, my life, which is based on my environment. If I were to live in a different environment and adapt to it, my point of reference changes and so too does my idea or concept of personal freedom. I will defend what I have at the moment because of fear – fear of losing my current environmental freedoms sometime in the future, fear of personal criminalisation or similar and fear of losing a system in which we have a say to change things (the idea of a democracy, fancy that!) so we feel we should increase the subscription to our system in order to protect it from being ‘lost’. Tapping into this is the main objective of nationalism and propaganda merchants.
In our attempt to help others one also has to ask; what is right for others? In attempting to help others do we do more harm than good? We know, without a shadow of a doubt (if we were to follow the lie of the ideology of our intervention in various oil-rich Middle Eastern countries without question) that in assisting others we have caused far worse pain than if we were to have left well alone. The added complications of these situations do not make easy examples, yet as real-life examples, they serve the purpose of pragmatic discussion and speculation on this issue.
Tibet as a Buddist society
Tibet has adopted the Buddist way of encouraging the spiritual life – a beautiful ideal which has been made famous by the works of Gautama and is a powerful tool for philosophy, meditation and psychology. With the Dalai Lama’s popularity in the West and so many good-intentioned people flocking to a teacher of such a virtuous canon, it is easy to understand a sentiment of sympathy and cohesion that has sprung up from the Western mindset (not to mention a disdain of the dreaded ‘human rights’ issue previously mentioned) Tibet and most notably the Dalai Lama, have received donations and support from all over the globe to support them in obtaining the finance necessary to prosper and continue to walk the middle path of Buddism.
Tibet has quite a harsh climate, situated high in the mountains for a great deal of its territory. It gets very cold in the evenings. Economically, it has not prospered though extraction of natural resources as this is a destructive process which is not endorsed by the Buddist way of life.
The grizzly scenes of monastic death (from the TV programme ‘Human Planet’) shows how a Tibetan ‘undertaker’ has the privilege of dismembering the corpse of a recently deceased monk and distributing the bodily parts to the vultures, crows and other carrion. The aesthetic of following life’s journey with no illusion as to duality of pain and pleasure, life and death, light and dark and so on – this is something which in its ideal is virtuous and yet, not entirely suited to all Tibetans.
The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions
China has been attempting to export infrastructure into Tibet, giving Tibetans adequate housing (shacks ain’t good for insulation from the cold) energy supplies and social welfare. Irrespective of the loss of sovereignty, the Chinese people have good intentions (evident from the massive mobilisation of its population well documented through history) and have worked together as a community to help each other in times of need. From clearing snow on the streets, volunteering for the Olympic games to rescue operations in Earthquake stricken towns and villages, the Chinese have good intentions. This is causing massive friction between the Chinese government (soldiers of whom have gotten caught up in fighting against Tibetan dissenters) and the Tibetans – many of whom are defending a viewpoint much like my own – not wanting society to be made to change under a foreign power.
I could make parallels to the intervention the west has brought upon war-torn regions, from Bosnia to Libya, which have resulted in worse attrocities than if one were to have left well alone. The same rules apply here – but the Chinese have less of an agenda for ‘helping’ than we had in, say, Libya.
Motives, timing and hidden agenda
Speaking to several Chinese sources, I am mindful of the False Flag concept playing itself out in this story. The Tibetan son of one of the deceased speaking in the video speaks English with some skill, yet the education system in Tibet is allegedly not good enough to enable a majority of Tibetans to be literate in their own language. How is it then that this individual speaks English so well? There needs to be more transparency on news sources and factual information if the truth is to be believed.
A startling coincidence is the timing of the UK news reports on Tibet and China, right after Cameron returns from Washington meeting the Obama administration. China is a very real threat to the West. Make no mistake, there is a currency/trade war taking place (thankfully, not a old-fashioned military campaign) and all the bets are on that the US will lose this one. I’d stake that policy makers have attempted to push the reports on Tibet and China and this coincides directly with the meeting of political leaders recently. Coincidence or something more?