Repression of Tibetan Religion and Culture

"With a heavy heart, I wanted to pledge everyone to pay a little more attention to Tibet and its people. "-By Tsering Choedon

It’s inevitably sad to address the happenings in Tibet. Repression basically means the action or process of suppressing an individual’s right to express and think. But in Tibet it is worse than repression.

Tibet has experienced mass massacre and genocide that hasn’t really captured world’s attention.

People are being held captive and tortured for keeping photos of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in who rests Tibetan’s trust and faith as a spiritual leader.

Quite recently, in the month of November, Lhamo, 36 years old mother of three was detained for two months in prison and torture till death in Chinese custody for keeping in touch and sending money to her relatives in exile, India.

What do we know about human rights in Tibet? None! Because no one has been taught let alone provided basic human rights after coming under the Chinese Communist Regime.

If you don’t obey their rules you will be either sentenced or killed with maximum torture that is beyond human tolerance.

One wouldn’t imagine but, this is the everyday life of Tibetans inside Tibet and so do other marginalized groups like Uyghur’s who’re equally affected under their ethnic cleansing policy.

Tibetans in general are very jolly; fun-loving people who love gathering, dancing, and picnics. Our traditional circle dance is some of the prominent features reflecting the beautiful virtue of togetherness.

But, these aren’t possible anymore without permission to gather three or more people. In fact, every gathering is seen as a suspicious act against the government, which may lend anyone in the prison at any point in time, had they violated China’s law.  

It is unimaginably beyond human capacity to accommodate such unhappiness.  

Tibetan language today has become a linguistic minority inside Tibet when there’s state imposition of the national language as Chinese.

Everywhere in Tibet there is a huge dominant of the Chinese language whether on the boards of shops and directional displays. It is rather annoying to know that one has to walk, talk and sleep in Chinese.

Even in schools, Tibetans are forced to learn Chinese as their first language and the repercussion of not knowing Chinese will lend you no job at all. It is, therefore, the most extreme level of human rights violation that every Tibetans and other minorities under the Chinese regime undergoes yet there are handful of nations who have supported and spoke up against Brutal China. 

This is not so surprising considering the power China holds as a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations.

The core duty of the united nation is to resolve any unrest in this world and they are supposed to interfere and resort the problems between China and Tibet but they are acting blind to the issues Tibetans are raising. 

There were times when our fore- fathers suffered a great deal of misconduct by the Chinese army on the path of religious grounds such as forbidding them from visiting monasteries and performing religious ceremonies which are very much part of our free nation.

Our culture and identity lie in our religion, i.e., Buddhism. Before Chinese invasion, every household has one or more monk or nun but after the 1950s the number drastically declined. Even the existing monks are subjected to violence and brutality, If a person is deprived of practicing his/her religion, culture, and language, what kind of a man he/she becomes?

 Imagine placing yourself in the shoes of a Tibetan living in Tibet oppressed by the Chinese communist puppets. You will realize even in the 21st century it’s like living in Hitler’s realm.

Will you ever accept the fate of the people who are suffering immensely daily and couldn’t even speak up?  It’s like a voiceless human being. 

In addition to that, Tibetans in exile also don’t have very happy story to tell, there are so many of them whose families are still in Tibet and they can not even meet with each other as it is against the law for the Tibetans in Tibet to meet with their family abroad, especially those who are in India.

Back in 1950, when Tibet lost its independence to Communist Chinese Party, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama along with many Tibetans fled to India and took refuge.

With the generosity of the Indian government, Tibetans are provided with a place to stay. Later, under the vision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, his Holiness’s sister Tsering Dolma established Tibetan children’s village in Dharamshala, the northern part of India in the state of Himachal Pradesh in 1960. TCV takes care of the orphans and those refugee children from Tibet.

During that period many parents in Tibet sent their children to India to get a quality education. Many hoped that their child would be safe under the guidance and blessings of Dalai Lama because Tibetans’ faith in the incarnated lama is more than anything else in this world.

If a child is in TCV then the parents feel enlightened and happy knowing they are in good hands. But the question is how it is possible for a child to survive without the mother.

In TCV, there’s family-like structure where there are foster mothers who take care of children under her supervision and she takes care of the children like her own child.

But growing up in boarding schools, many children question their identity with a very vague image of their own parents and relatives.

Even if they want to meet with them and they want to talk with the child it's impossible for those in Tibet to see their children or family members in India. It is insane when we hear about the heartbroken stories of how one cannot meet with their own dying parents. They are only connected via telephone and apps like Wechat are under high state surveillance.

Isn’t it astonishing to know that there are many prisons in Tibet? Before Chinese rule, Tibet was a country that doesn’t require any military.

But, now Tibetans are pushed behind the bar for all sorts of silly reasons. It is rather hard to believe that all the products we buy in the market which are made in China are cheap because the prisoners are highly exploited and they are forced to work tirelessly for the exchange of a meal a day.

It is rather more disturbing to listen to the tales of the female inmates who were exposed to serious kinds of sexual abuse and violence. Many of them were raped till death and there’s no help from anyone. No justice being served, no action taken against the culprits. Is it even humanly possible to exploit a person like that?

And I believe if there are good in people, there are also demons of a kind in a person. It depends on the situation that makes the person who he/she is. And I also believe that even in the hard scenario they can become a person that we want others to be for you. There is a saying in Tibetan that, if you cannot help someone at least do not cause harm. 

Tibetans are born and brought up with all the dominant teachings in Buddhism about all the moral values such as regarding everyone else above you.

To become someone who are ready to help others in need of help and to think rationally towards all including the animals too. Our culture and religion are inseparable because what is religion is also our culture.

The reforms that are made by the Chinese Communists are all destroying our culture as well as religion.

They wanted to make every single Tibetan into Han Chinese and to practice their beliefs. It is the major reason that people of Tibet took refuge in India to preserve their identity and culture. It is the reason why Tibetans established different schools and settlements in India.  Preserving the sacred culture that defines Tibetan and the land Tibet, which is evidently independent of the rule of China. The first evidence is the presence of separate flags and national anthems in Tibetan language.

The language itself is proof that before Chinese came to Tibet, it was an independent state. Not to talk about the history that dictates that there are different kinds of agreement with most prominent countries that indeed proves that Tibet is a country governed by its own system and people.  

Often in the minds of the people tend to complain about little things that go against them. It is very difficult when it comes to the situations faced by the Tibetans in Tibet and those of whom who are in exile.

They even don’t know where to complain as everybody turned its back. The very first question everybody asks seeing your face, “where are you from?” When saying Tibet, they again ask where is it.

Being a refugee as well as someone who hasn’t seen its own country couldn’t even explain what its like. It is very high time for the world to address the issues with Tibet and China.

Due to many developments in Tibet such as the construction of dams, roads and railway can drastically influence the environment and livelihood of the people inside Tibet as well as those outside Tibet, the neighbouring countries.

With a heavy heart, I wanted to pledge everyone to pay a little more attention to Tibet and its people.