My response to an article claiming the Tibetans are happy with Chinese occupation

If i may, having been to tibet, made a documentary there, having been to dharamsala, made a documentary there and studied the history of the tibetan people, especially the invasion of the tibet by the british in 1906. I've been to dharamsala a few times, and have taken a class in Tibetan philosophy with Robert Thurman. That's all a way of saying I've studied their history, I've studied the history of the monasteries in Tibet, the various Dalai Lamas and their political structures, and have read nearly all accounts of tibet from western points of view. 

Charles Bell's books are excellent, as he became friends with the 13th Dalai Lama, lived freely as a british soldier in Lhasa for over a dozen years, and his books paint an excellent description of both common and higher placed people. There was a lot wrong (by western standards) with the feudal system, but it was the one they were trying to change when the 14th showed up and was chased from his country by the Chinese. My documentary "Tibetan Refugee" interviews Tibetans who've just fled Tibet (shot in 2000) and in their own words speak why they fled. Tibetans can learn Tibetan in school, but only if they pay for it. 

Tibetans cannot hold jobs that Chinese people want. Tibetans are treated "like slaves" - i interviewed a Doctor who left because he was being forced to give women abortions who didn't want them. I spoke to ten Han businessmen in Lhasa who said variations of "I hate Tibetans, I hate their food, I hate their climate, I hate everything about being here - but I'm paid triple wages by the govt to come here."  All ten told me they'd move back home the moment the money dried up.  Penn & Teller's account is laughable - starting with the premise that Buddhism is a religion and that the Dalai Lama is a God. Neither is the case. The Dalai Lama calls themselves a "non theistic religion" which the last time I looked means atheist.  

No belief involved. No belief in a higher power involved. No gods. Just an examination into the nature of reality.  It was Tsong Khapa, founder of the Gelupka order in the 14th century, who claimed that the 1st Dalai Lama was his teacher, and he knew the 2nd as well.  They began an elaborate system of testing reincarnated people - and it carried for the past six centuries, and wasn't picked up by the West until Ian Stevenson, Carol Bowman at UVA began examining cases of reincarnation (from western science standards) for decades.  But not centuries.  The idea that the Tibetans are somehow masters of their own fate, masters of the prisons (I interview a number of survivors from Drapchi prison) is just nonsense. 

 It's the equivalent of saying slavery was good for the slaves, as it got them out of the tropics.  (Yes, I've heard Chinese engineers talk about the great roads and electricity in Tibet - and I've used them - but no one wants to be there who isn't from there.  The Han women who get pregnant HAVE to leave, as they get birth defects at the high altitude.  So let's start there - basically if you're going to write about a place, I suggest going there. Not hard to do, many companies offer trips.  Lhasa may seem like a Disneyland resort now - but if you spend a few days there, you'll find the Tibetan people, despite the boot that's been put on their heads, are resilient people, and their faith and culture is hidden from public view. 

 It's there. Ingrained in their courage to withstand the onslaught.  But that's just me. the two dox, if you're curious, are free on youtube, "tibetan refugee" and "Journey into Tibet with Robert Thurman" - i made them free so people could see for themselves, without having to take a plane ride to get there.  My two cents.

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