I will look at your website, David. Please do find time to study the work of the Trimondis. As regards finding Tibetans to speak with, I don't come across many in Perth, I must confess! However history shows time and again that exile communities develop their own take on what is good for the country they left, which tends increasingly to diverge from what 'ordinary Tibetans' (in this case) think - most of whom live in Tibet. Of course it would be lovely for those ordinary Tibetans also to be able to make free internet connections with us, for journalists to circulate more freely, etc. But that this isn't likely (absent a political settlement) shouldn't just be laid at the door of the Chinese, since how they have developed relates to how the US and the UK and other countries have acted, not just vis a vis China/Tibet but also in Afghanistan (which shares a border), Iran, Pakistan, Korea, etc. (Interdependent co-arising, you could call this) .
It doesn't make it OKay for (presumably) the Chinese secret service to hack your website, but please remember that the US is doing this sort of thing routinely worldwide, it is called 'full spectrum dominance, including in cyberspace', and recently they used specially designed kit from warships to cut about ten vital communication lines into Iran and much of the Gulf. Also sometimes they do 'false flag operations', e.g. in Italy in the 70's and 80's - which hide their own interventions behind acts which blame the reds. (See Daniel Ganser’s revelatory and authoritative Nato's Secret Armies on this.)
One last point: of course I support full autonomy culturally, economically, politically for everyone in Tibet: also in every bioregion of China. Also the US, the UK, and on and on, including places like the Congo and Iraq and Haiti, where the scale of repression makes life in Tibet seem positively well-ordered by comparison, I can't help adding, however 'heartless' this may sound to many - or even an 'apology' (rather than a contextualisation) for Chinese government authoritarianism. But let us not make the best the enemy of the good-as-it-can-be in these not-of-our-liking circumstances.
'With the Ideal comes the actual.' (Zen saying): 'With majority Tibetan aspirations for freedom but also for peace and justice and for Tibetan self-determination in whatever relational framework they decide on are packaged also the shadow side of Tibetan Buddhism and the CIA and ethnic resentments against Han and Muslim shopkeepers] Sadness, yes, oceans of it. Annoyance, less helpful?
With loving-kindness to all the people of Tibet and China/the rest of China, Keith Mothersson (foolish being who makes many mistakes)
7) Did I minimize 'ludicrously' the extent of Chinese repression in the the fiftes?
My controversial Op Ed News article was carried in Jean Hudon's Earth Rainbow Network mail-out (which often carries great reports, by the way). It was followed by a reply by someone called Monica in Seattle, who is a member of the Sakya sangha www.sakya.org "whose head is His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya, the brother-in-law of His Holiness the Dalai Lama (one of Rinpoche's sisters is married to one of HHDL's brothers)".
She continues: "Of course there are always political machinations that occur in any situation, but to characterize His Holiness the Dalai Lama as anything other than the compassionate person that he is simply not accurate."
[Monica's sense of the Dalai Lama is not quite mine: I do sense that he has other aspects to his psyche than just compassion, including wrath, which most Buddhists see not as an expression of a compassionate deity, but as a personal affliction, one of the three poisons of greed, hate/anger and delusion. I speak as someone who was also separated from my mum and home community at an early age! ]
She continues: "The involvement of the CIA has been known for a long time, as has the fact that the current incarnation of the Dalai Lama, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, before the Chinese invaded, recognized that he needed to change the situation in Tibet and move towards a democratic form of government."
[Good point - but was he also being blocked from introducing reform proposals by the wealthy caste in Tibet, who may have hemmed him into the Potala Palace in 1959 to pressure him into resisting 'the Chinese'/the lower orders?, but under the supposed guise of protecting him from Chinese pressure?]
"All of this is very well known and repeatedly documented. Repeatedly, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has wanted to step down from his position as political leader of the government of Tibet in exile, and repeatedly he has been asked not to do so by his people.
Currently, some of the most reliable information that we can obtain about what is happening in Tibet is from Tibetans who are living outside of Tibet (I have many Tibetan friends here in Seattle) who have been able to contact their family members still inside Tibet. One of the most consistent reports to emerge from them is the fact that members of the Chinese police and military are dressing up as Tibetan monks in order to incite some of the disturbances, which they can then blame on Tibetans. Be very, very wary of any reports coming out of Tibet that claim that monks have created any disturbances."
[This is a good point, I am sure, but equally we cannot be sure that some of the 'monks' might not be CIA-linked agents - or even genuine monks - since actual fighting between factions and monasteries is not unknown in the history of Tibetan Buddhism, not all of it distant history either. As between the Chinese government and the US the 'Cui bono' - 'Who benefits?' question could cut either way, depending on your analysis, I guess.]
Monica then takes me to task for a statement about the Chinese-backed reforms of the fifties which she doesn't quite quote in full: "And the outrageous comment that suggests that the Chinese "actually left both the common people and the monasteries free to practice their religion to a much greater extent" flies so much in the face of what actually occurred that it is just staggering! That is disinformation of monumental proportions. Having met and spoken with Palden Gyatso, author of "Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk", who spent over 30 years in Chinese prisons and any number of other monks, nuns and "common people", I find that statement to be beyond ludicrous! "
I had originally written of this period (early/mid fifties) that the Chinese "actually left both the common people and the monasteries free to practice their religion to a much greater extent than subsequently obtained [emphasis now added] , i.e. in the context of the Tibetan struggle being taken up by the USA, with two brothers of the Dalai Lama actively involved with armed CIA-trained Tibetan liberation forces".
Even so I may well be wrong on how I put that point, but I had understood that in that period of the fifties most of the threat to the monasteries came from the danger to them that oppressive privileges might be taken away (possibly with enthusiastic participation of poor Tibetans, whose status had often been little more than slaves), not so much that they had to be closed down on religious grounds per se, which of course did happen to a huge extent during the Cultural Revolution, as across all China.