Update: Our friends @TibetTruth just tweeted: “Tibet’s an occupied nation suffering China’s vicious tyranny, not a shangrila playground for exotic vacations.” Hear, hear.
It is a tough question—but I think visiting any harshly occupied nation is questionable at best. Obviously those going to help the people of Tibet, not pose for photos at Lhasa’s Potala Palace…well all visits aren’t created equal. ~ W.
Visiting Tibet isn’t Spiritual. It’s Immoral.
I say it is. I could be wrong. I often am.
But for years I’ve felt uncomfortable when my fellow Buddhist buddies or climbers and adventurers of all stripes visited Tibet.
It’s under occupation by the Chinese Communists. I mean, when the recent Tibet Quake happen, it was widely referred to as the China Quake, until grassroots media (including ele) forcibly renamed it…what it actually was.
Look: you wouldn’t visit Nazi Germany and say “my presence there helps the Jews or the homosexuals or the artists or handicapped who are suffering so much.” In Tibet, any conversations with Tibetans are watched closely. Cameras are everywhere. Spies are everywhere. A good portion of your fees and tourism dollars, by necessity, go to the Chinese, not the Tibetans—and those dollars help prop up a government that exiles artists, censors search engines and even, now, regulates use of a photocopier.
“Basically, the main purpose is to instill fear into people’s hearts,” said Woeser, an activist who, like many Tibetans, goes by one name. “In the past, the authorities tried to control ordinary people at the grass-roots level. But they have gradually changed their target to intellectuals in order to try to control thought.”
A 47-year-old writer named Tragyal was arrested in April after he published a book calling on Tibetans to defend their rights through peaceful demonstrations, the report states. His current whereabouts is unknown, it said.
A popular Tibetan singer, Tashi Dhondup, was sentenced to 15 months at a labor camp in January after he released a new CD with a song calling for the return of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, according to the report. He had been arrested on suspicion of “incitement to split the nation,” the report states…for the rest, go to the NY Times.
It’s a government built on fear. Don’t feed it.
PS: neither this blog nor the Times article above can be read in China. And by China, I mean Tibet, too.
PPS: if you disagree, there’s no better way to go to Tibet than with my friends at Tibetan Village Project. You’ll be traveling with ex-Tibetans who work with Tibetans for the benefit of Tibet. And, the journey is eco-responsible. Click image: