Tibet: beyond news, the invisible genocide.Thousands yak horns hanging on the households’doors. That’s what amazed us the most, before seeing the mountains’ peaks decorated with colorful mantra (prayer letters), while crossing the Himalaya plateau curves. According to an ancient belief, they would keep demons away and protect households.
Unfortunately, they are not enough to save Tibetans from the Chinese devils. The past imaginary spirits, in fact, could be exorcised, while today’s soldiers equipped with real guns, green uniforms and red flags are a real threat. The oppressors are actually sentecing Buddha millennial world to death, by corrupting people mind. “They are slowly killing us” said Sonam, a local activist, “in a few decades our people will disappear” and be commemorated as the mountains’ gods, in the legends of Shangri-la (fancy name indicating Tibet myths in literature).
The silent genocide Sonam refers to something worse than the recent casualties counted to salute the forgotten tragedy of Tibet. Tens, hundreds. The number of killed people in clashes during Buddhist monks demonstrations, March the 10th, is announced at random as in a deadly lottery and exceeds 1.2 million Tibetans killed immediately after the 1959 failed uprising, that forced the Dalai Lama (reincarnation of Buddha and spiritual and political leader of Tibet) into exile in India. Yet, all of these victims cannot be compared to the silent genocide, the “great solution” subtly planned by Beijing and neglected in newspapers and TV shows because it is not so impressive. A simple maths operation: maximum two children per family.
The restrictive rules on births, adopted to keep Chinese population birth rate within the range (1.3 billion people), are applied both to the Tibetan and to Chinese people. However, the bill hides something tricky. “Behind this fair treatment for all lies a trap,” says Sonam, “Our people is constantly decreasing in number because of the low birth rate’, while Han ethnicity is gradually increasing due to the new settlers’ immigration from China.” The fake autonomy Chinese action could be explained in this way: Chinese do not kill Tibetans, but prevent their birth. A legal strategy, planned and carried out sistematically which leaves no way out. Beijing-Lhasa railroad, 4.000Km, inaugurated in July 2006, and the paving of nomad old routes attract many Chinese to migrate here. And the deployment of troops and transportation of mineral resources as well are not neglectable factors.
The deposits of gold, copper and gas, recently discovered, make Tibet a rich colony that China will never give up and always exploit.. The results of this occupation policy can be measured in figures. Over the past 50 years, Tibetans have been reduced to a minority group in their own land: 6 compared to 8 million Chinese, since the unborn children apart, many Tibetans flee abroad to escape from the regime oppression. Not to mention the new trend of mixed marriages, where Chinese family members prevail. Children attend Chinese universities, speak Chinese and party with their Chinese peers in Lhasa nightclubs. Behind this fake integration lies a deep inter-ethnic injustice.
The name “Tibet Autonomous Region” (TAR) appearing at the public offices is but a slogan since only Chinese are in charge of the administration and police. Whoever does not get a diploma issued by China can find only underpaid jobs, like the young man guiding us in Bakhor streets in the old Tibetan quarter surrounding the Jokhang Temple, one of the scene of recent violence, in spite of the plaque commemorating the historic peace treaty signed by the Emperor of China in the ninth century. A picture against occupation “My father lost his clothes shop, now there is a Chinese kiosk that sells alcohol and cigarettes,” says our guide, “I’m the only one to take home a bit of money, 1000 yuan per month (100 €) I have to feed 5 people, including my parents and siblings. If I got a Chinese tour guide license, I would earn 400 yuan in a single day.
He tells us to follow him toward his house. In a private room behind a shop window full of relics, we take a look at the forbidden pictures: Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth and current Dalai Lama, feared by China as a symbol of the independence threat. A few days before, we received the same invitation from a monch in Shigatse city. In his tiny cell, we can hardly see a smaller picture of Dalai Lama. “Easy to hide in case of checks,” says. Storing it secretly means confinement. But it ‘s the only way Tibetans can challenge the regime, silently expressing their discontent. “Nobody wants to go back to the ancient monastic-feudal system prevailing before the Chinese occupation,” said Sonam, “We just claim no discrimination, freedom of thought and the right to exist as a free people.” Tenzin Gyatso himself withdrew independence in 2005 and now claims a more opon autonomous status allowing Tibetans to protect their culture and spirituality, along with their natural environment. Spies and cement. We don’t have to wait riots or telephones black-outs to realize that Beijing wants to hide the Tibet issue.
Just come here as tourist confusing with the crowd and soon you realize police officers are carefully watching the pilgrims queues. Hidden cameras spy us as we are talking with a local, who will probably be arrested and questioned at night, just because he’s suspected to reveal such a truth. We just go on our trip and enjoy Potala Palace (the former royal palace of the Lama) towering over the rooftops of Lhasa. Then, we go upstairs and once reached the top, we realize the fairy tale city of the living Buddha turned into a cement plain. Its polluted tentacles are creeping in the valleys where once stood the Buddhist monasteries. All swept away by Mao Tse Tung army in the 50s and 60 ‘. At the end of the so-called Mao’s Cultural Revolution, the destruction still continues today. Last automn, several statues of Guru Rimpoche -one of the holiest characters in Tibetan Buddhism- were torn down. Pro-Chinese tourism The most important monasteries, as Ganden and Sakya, are being renovated.
However, renovating works are paid by the Tibetans, while Chinese agencies take advantage by organizing guided tours. We should aknowlege that as turists, we are basically funding the occupation regime. And not only. Capitalism and utilitarianism brought by settlers keep the new generations awy from the ancient traditions, that made Tibet so fascinating in the Western imagination. We and a queue of elderly and children perform the ritual of the kora (the holy tour) at Tashilhunpo Monastery.
Nobody is twenty or thirty. We wonder how many of their children know that this year is the 430th anniversary of Sönam Gyatso, First (then passed third) of the Dalai Lama dynasty. Tibetans will probably celebrate “Dalai Made in China” that Beijing is going to appoint as sole legitimate successor of Tenzin Gyatso. For those who want to make the same experience, we would sadly answer: you should better to stay home watching Seven Years in Tibet with Brad Pitt.