Two important statements in recent days have brought the focus once again to the issue of the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
According to magazines like The New Yorker, we are living in “A Golden Age for Dystopian Fiction,” with readers drawn to stories that project their anxieties about a coming nightmare of surveillance, authoritarianism, climate destruction, inequality and disease. But in Tibet, under the rule of the Chinese government, many of the hallmarks of that horrific future are on full display right now.
Senior government figures should treat China’s refusal to conclude negotiations with the Tibetans like a problem they need to actively solve, not a foregone conclusion or a box to check off in statements.
Michelle Bachelet’s trip to China is over, but it’s sure to live on in the annals of appeasement.
On the morning of June 4, 2022, I received the shocking news of the demise of Thubten Samphel la, a retired senior Tibetan official, at his residence in the Tibetan settlement in Bylakuppe in South India. It was shocking because he had no major health issues.
In March 1959, as he approached the Indian border after a two-week journey disguised as a common soldier, His Holiness the Dalai Lama looked back at Tibet for the very last time, leaving behind everything he had ever known and entering into a world of absolute uncertainty.
As much as the actual timing of the escape was sudden, a great deal of behind the scenes preparations were certainly made.
On March 3, Tibetans as well as other communities from the Himalayan region welcome the year of the Tiger.
As Václav Havel wrote: if human freedom is denied to anyone in the world, it is therefore denied, indirectly, to all people. Long live Havel, long live the Dalai Lama!
What China is proud to call propaganda has never been more important, both as the only source of information available to Chinese citizens and, beyond China, a story of China’s “rightful place” that demands acceptance.