This will truly be a tragic loss - the town is much more than the 'slum' it is represented as - it's arguably the most important Buddhist learning institution in the world..
Photos for the interested from my visit: http://travel.ninjito.com/dump/2016-06-15-Larung-Gar/index.h...
Edit: Got a good internet connection, uploaded decent photos.
Edit: found an answer further down the thread:
> The hygienic conditions are very poor - people doing their business squatting on the streets, no toilets, rubbish everywhere. I am surprised that was not an argument being made by the government for the demolition.
I would assume that most supplies are brought in..
In other words, the money from tax payers of developed areas in China feeds the people. The purpose of the programs is also quite similar to the Canadian government, (at least in the beginning): the people in those area need support.
Unbelievable? I choose some source which can not be some propaganda from Chinese government to partially collaborate my claim (the source of income):
(BTW, the subjective speculation by the author about the motivation of the financial aid can satisfied the western readers but is far from the truth. These false claims happen all the time in almost all western media. The lies fuels anger and nationalism inside China which is not healthy in my personal view. Nobody in western world are aware of that)
Another policy that is favorable to the minorities is the notorious "One Child Policy": All the Han Chinese can have only one child while the minorities include Tibetans are not restricted by the rule.
Those information were never told by western journalist and Free Tibet Movement because they are opposite to the common belief that Chinese government is oppressive regime. The sprite of "Truth, nothing but truth" exist in science/technology/engineering. In politics and religion lies spread.
"Politics, like religion, is a topic where there's no threshold of expertise for expressing an opinion. All you need is strong convictions."
Because they are not an independent nation, and actually are a minority in the bigger nation they are part of ?
I know next to nothing about this area but my first uninformed thought is as neat and cool as the pictures are how do I know this isn't actually a slum? As an example the Kowloon Walled City arguably needed to be destroyed. It was amazing but its existence was arguably a human rights violation and its destruction was arguably the right thing to do, even though I personally found the place super intriguing.
Does any of that fit this situation? In the Kowloon case afaik the government provided housing for all those displaced. Not just housing but better and safer housing on probably nearly every axis.
Have a selection from the smartphone that came out very nicely too, surprisingly!
It's all about the subject being inherently nice, and getting the framing as the photographer intended and the exposure right.
Rebuilding would destroy the history, but probably be better overall for the people living there.
Here are some pictures: http://imgur.com/a/v4gYI
The hygienic conditions are very poor - people doing their business squatting on the streets, no toilets, rubbish everywhere. I am surprised that was not an argument being made by the government for the demolition.
There is some concern about foreign - especially American and British - influence on Tibetan Buddhists in the government. I am not sure this move will serve to diminish this influence.
Ps: on another note, a surprising number of these ascetic monks had an iPhone 6s+ or Samsung S7 in their pockets!
As you noted, I spent time hanging out in teahouses with monks passing their afternoons on their iphones w/ flawless 4G / LTE connections :)
It's a funny thing with monks. Quite a few are former businessman who want to try something more spiritual for a change but still are wealthy. I walked a bit with a young monk on the way to Tengboche Monastery and his main interest as we talked seemed to be designer sunglasses and which brand would be good to get.
So mostly phonies being tourists in spiritual-land?
Jumping to absolute detachment is not really possible.
That generally doesn't happen with democracies; they could adopt democratic reforms.
Over 40 peaceful transitions, really? What about the Civil War and the assassination of JFK? Not to mention the recent Donald Trump fiasco. I'm pretty sure if he got elected, we would have a few more presidential assassination attempts coming our way. I mean if you want to prove that democracies bring stability, you need a better example than the U.S..
A more apt comparison is the post cultural revolution government, which occurred during the last century.
But not western democracy. Notable mentions are Greece and Rome, but those cultures also became history.
Pretty insulated thinking there.. Try traveling to Indian reservations or gentrified urban areas.. Or perhaps research Japanese internment camps in WW2. Or hell even look up Guantanamo Bay today. Superpowers flexing their muscle on a "threatening few" is extremely common.
> Indian reservations
Yes, the state of the modern Indian reservation is tragic, but doesn't that have to more to do with too much government assistance rather than government stepping in to destroy?
> gentrified urban areas
You're not trying to suggest that living in a neighborhood that's getting nicer and more expensive is somehow akin to the government coming in and demolishing the whole city block are you?
> Japanese internment camps in WW2
Well taken point, and a black mark on the history of the US government to be sure. But there's much to be said about the state of exception in wartime and it seems unfair to compare measures taken during unprecedented war with China's actions during unprecedented peace.
> Guantanamo Bay
Yeah, this is a shame. But hardly seems comparable, considering the Chinese are literally putting thousands of families out of homes and seeking to destroy an entire religious minority, and at best Guantanamo Bay is an infringement on the civil liberties of a relative handful of individuals. Not that it's right, but it certainly is at the top of a long slippery slope on which China is currently racing to the bottom.
andy_ppp's comment is apt...we have problems, but we still are far more free than almost anywhere else. And it isn't insulated thinking at all; Americans are objectively freer than the Chinese by almost any metric.
I don't regard it as insulated thinking at all. It makes perfect sense to be bewildered by such a disgusting display of cowardice and irrational fear by China.
Someone on a public forum says: X nation is doing a bad thing; one of the responses inevitably is: yeah but the US did a bad thing. There should be a 'law' named for that attempted topic distraction in public forums.
there kind of is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/And_you_are_lynching_Negroes
For example, do we attribute the US governments use of eminent domain to gentrify urban areas as "American Government's cowardice and fear?"
By putting things in perspective, we realize the "Other Nation" maybe isn't doing it for nefarious means, but rather just operating like any other Nation.
I grow up in Seda County in the late 70 and early 80s, and am intimately familiar with culture there. Tibetan Buddhism is not what people in the west think what it is. It is actually quite repressive and brutal. After 1950s, many regular Tibetans were glad to worship the new religion of Chairman Mao instead. Yes, it was true. Chairman Mao was worshiped as one of major Gods at Tibet when I grow up there. Then Deng Xiaoping took power and demolished Chairman Mao worshiping (one of his major blunders, on the same scale as that of 89 Tienanmen massacre), now we got this huge slum town of "religious learning" at a hot basin of Buddhist rebellions. Yes, going unchecked, that town would surely become such a terrorists base, because Buddhist monks in that area had always been very militant and had launched numerous rebellions in 60 and 70s. As a child, I heard all kinds of horrific stories Tibetan monks and their rebellious army inflicted on the Chinese soldiers and civilians alike. For that reason, many Han Chinese families kept firearms at home in that area, a rare thing in China.
On the other hand, Tibetan people in general are good people. One of my cousins married a Tibetan man and we are good drinking buddies. However, Tibetan religious upper class are representatives of a theocracy at worst: greedy, deceptive and brutal.
I am surprised that this town was tolerated for so long. I guess Deng's power was still strong even after his death.
I'm guessing they didn't tell you about the horrific treatment many Tibetans suffered in the years after the PRC invasion. During the Cultural Revolution, the conservative estimates put the number of extra-judicial executions in Tibet at around 22,000.
Plus, over 6,000 monasteries, the vast majority that have ever existed, were ransacked during that time, which was only a few decades ago. It's rather one-sided to call the Tibetan religious leaders "brutal", and not acknowledge that they have been the recipients of far more brutality in the last few decades.
As to cultural revolution, there's nothing special in Tibet. Fired up populace did all the damages. At that time, Tibetan common people were equally zealous about Chairman Mao, if not more so.
Sounds a bit unrealistic to me. You haven't been getting your information from Chinese government controlled sources by any chance?
I see they called the Dalai Lama holding a prayer session for monks who had killed themselves terrorism in disguise so I can see how you could worry too much buddhism could lead to prayer. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/oct/19/dalai-lama-pra...
I guess demonizing neighbors is a universal human tendency.
Doesn't hurt to check!
I am sure my cousin in law would not agree with whatever I could have written in NYT as a member of the Tibetan elite though.
What I am saying is that the elite may not represents the best interests of the people they claim to represent.
What does this tell you?
Why is this? Because of the government structure?
However, none of this seems to bring any "perspective" to what seems to be in store for the community and Larung Gar. It's really, really hard not to see this program as anything other than blatant cultural genocide - and a huge step backward for both China, and human civilization generally.
On the other hand, theocracy is never a good thing. Separation of state and religion is.
Tibetan monks are not as innocent, naive or pure as the world think.
The way Tibet was Incorporated into China, the nature of the Tibetan resistance, the way China governs Tibet, the reason China wants Tibet, the reason China represses Tibetans are all very very different from what's happening in Judea and Samaria. The Israeli Arab conflict is perhaps the most unique of all time.
The better analogies perhaps are some of the separatist leaning Russian Republics or India's Jammu and Kashmir
There's a long, long history of China controlling Tibet, back at least to the Tang dynasty. The ChiComs are nastier about it than most of the previous Chinese governments, but that's what you get when you refute the old mandate of heaven/chakravartin mashup of political legitimacy espoused by the old empire for ... what justification do the ChiComs give for their political legitimacy? Having the biggest boot and the willingness to murder millions and imprison more, I suppose.
Well, it's right there in art. I of their own Constitution, I think: "The People’s Republic of China is a socialist state under the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants."
It might have its problems (will the country forever have "workers" and "peasants"? Does the working class include peasants? Who does a democratic dictatorship actually dictate to? etc etc) but it's still better than divine mandate, tbh, which might explain why it's not been toppled yet.
Or the Pacific islands or South China Sea (where things are going bad fast). Even calling Tibet part of China is interesting. Ukraine is Russian now by that logic.
On the ground, for the people, the real justification are different. It used to be the liberation of common Tibetan people from a regressive serfdom and a brutal theocracy, not unlike the communists' justification for themselves elsewhere in China. Similarly, after Deng, the justification is more about improving people's economic status and living conditions.
I hope this is supposed to be a joke. There is the small difference that citizens of Nevada, California and Colorado elect their representatives in the Congress and other institutions where the decisions on how to share the resources are made.
While Israel just takes what it wants by force, and the West Bank Palestinians have no say in it.
> Isn't that the nature of almost every conflict with an ethnic context? If there's no clear weaker and stronger you usually end up with two independent states.
Your statement is sort of weird in the above. It presupposes that subjugation of a weaker ethnic group by a more powerful ethnic group is acceptable -- that is how these conflicts are resolved. It is counter to the idea of universal human rights that arose because of the the atrocities that arose because of the ethnic issues in WW2. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_human_rights#After_...
Your point of view, the powerful ethnic groups win and the weak lose and that is how the world works, justifies slavery, South African apartheid, and many other situations where one ethnic group is more powerful and wishes to impose its wishes on the less powerful. That is an allowable perspective, but that is antithesis to universal human rights.
1. Stronger vs Weaker is a common pattern in such conflicts.
2. Tibet vs China :: Palestine/Arab states vs Israel differ in almost every other feature.
3. There's places in the world that better mimic the Tibetan situation.
4. Hence the analogy isn't very good.
Or a legal system, where blacks are hugely over-represented, the takeover of native american land, Puerto Rico, etc.
"Universal human rights" take usually less precedence to "my country, right or wrong".
Except there was no ethnic cleansing by the Tibetans like in Kashmir.
All of it doesn't matter. Nobody's willing to fight for Tibet, or for Atheists, or ... Fight, as in "fight, kill and die", credibly, against the dictatorship that rules China, against, well let's be honest here : against most Muslims, and I'm sure there will be occasionally some slight effort required against a Christian too.
Looking at a map of 1950's, finding China, and looking at China now will make anyone scared.
Can someone point me to a good Mandarin course ?
J&K is a territorial flashpoint - with ethnic unrest that is funded.
As for that, I'm all in favour of giving Palestine high precision missiles and an Iron Dome system.
> Doesn't Tibet lack a certain penchant for poorly aimed rockets and human shields in a way that detracts from this analogy?
Tibetians have tried various tactics, including violence, to oppose Chinese rule but none of them have been effective:
This gets back to what I say in my original post, slow and steady achievement of the stronger ethnic groups goals over a period of decades in the face of ineffective resistance by the weaker ethnic group.
Be warned those that the BDS movement is under attack though because it is viewed as a bigger threat to Israel's occupation than terrorism. Israel actually bars the top non-violent pro-Palestinian activist from leaving Israel recently as the BDS movement has had too much success.
Great interview by Glenn Greenwald:
Also, "fight back in a wrong way" is a very curious way to label brutal attacks targeting civilians that go on non-stop for the last hundred years — long before any of alleged grievances that you would be "fighting back" against even began.
Those go on non-stop from BOTH sides.
And statistically the side you seem to be siding with has caused 100 times the casualties --doing those "brutal attacks targeting civilians" with full military force, not ad-hoc weaponry (plus they have amassed all this land areas they didn't use to have). Or is that just a minor detail?
So if I unjustly imprison you, and the only way for you to escape is by killing me, will you willingly stay imprisoned forever? It's an... admirable stance, although so unpopular that you'll likely find not even Gandhi on your side.
(honestly, historical trivia is relatively irrelevant to the whole Israel/Palestine debate, which has great moral issues to argue -- if your people suffered apartheid and holocaust, are you justified in doing the same to others "in self-defence"? How long does it take for populations to forego ethnic grievances and land claims? Will nations ever renounce ultimate sovereignty to the UN? etc etc)
Completely wrong analogy. The killing doesn't help you escape at all, it just angers the jailer (who you can't touch anyway).
In the meanwhile, Israel keeps expanding its illegal colonies in a foreign territory, the West Bank, contravening to the international law. It also unilaterally annexed the whole city of Jerusalem, also contrary to international law. And it unilaterally annexed the Golan Heights, demolishing over a hundred Syrian villages and giving the land to Israeli settlers, also against the international law (as was recently reaffirmed by the UN Security Council).
As of 2016, 750000 Israelis, about 10% of the whole population of Israel, lives in illegally occupied territories. This number has been steadily growing for the past 60 years.
Let me clarify the concept if these numbers seem a bit abstract. Israel is stealing houses and fields and destroying villages and driving out native populations, by economic and military oppression, in a quest for lebensraum for its own population. This is completely unacceptable by any modern western standard.
It would also not hurt to stop with the constant demonization of "China" as a whole, which just serves to downplay criticism as bigotry.
That would definitely be an interesting experiment. I suspect prices would rise slightly and we'd find out just how dependent we really are.
After a week or two there would be a joint statement of the leaders of the Western World that they have unanimously decided to support the Chinese action, in fact they'll come to help to cart rubble personally.
I could certainly see leaders in certain countries such as France who have been actively selling weaponry to China going "to help cart the rubble personally" but there's no way Obama or his next successor would do that.
Yes, we are utterly co-dependent at this point in time.
Cutting trade with China would take a decade or more if it can be done at all at this stage.
But I could finally buy decent pliers made in the USA, like I once could 25 years ago.
This belief is clearly a failure of imagination.
Why not? Prices would rise marginally if at all. There'd be some supply issues for a while.
It was ok to sanction Iran, Iraq and South Africa and so on but not now in this globalised world? We put up with any old abuse from Israel and China because they're approved in some way?
I'm no diplomat, but there should be some consequences of significance.
It would harm the bottom 50% in the US the most. That's enough reason to look at other options first.
There'd be a diplomatic tit-for-tat leading up to sanctions, they wouldn't just be turned on at 00:00 tomorrow. So there'd be perhaps a year. Sanctions tend to start with specific items and scale up. So it's a process, with a timeline, over perhaps 2 - 10 years.
Plenty of time for significnt amounts of trade to move to india, Vietnam and the other developing economies.
That's not how 3rd world countries work (I know because I live in one...)
I am sure China will put the 'safety' issue forward, and deflect the independence movement. Remember the earthquake of May 12, 2008 in Sichuan province, China, where over 68,000 people died, and more went missing. The focus in the media was on the houses not being up to standard building codes.
The earthquake in Nepal in 2015 surely affected Tibet too, but information was controlled by China, so the numbers are questionable. Larung Gar is a sprawl of houses for monks, worshipers, students and visitors that could be seen as a potential earthquake hazard area as spun by Chinese media.
If China has its way, hundreds of years from now, Tibet will be gone, no record of it will exist, etc.
Is it explicitly a measure taken to limit solidarity in a religious/ethnic minority? Is there a concern about the food supply?
Also, it's not clear to me that this qualifies as genocide.
The reason given by the instigator (either for the top level or individual actions) is of interest but probably doesn't have much truth to it.
For those curious - China is colonising Tibet, nothing wrong in industrial nation wiping out the weakling. When the British colonised Americas they did the same with more than 600 First Nations. They just did it earlier.
However, the gov do not give them another place to live and study. It is not a city or town, it is a college. Most people are studying at there. The highest degree is Kanbo. People need 15-20 years to get this.
Note that China did the same to the Han majority as well, for example in the destruction of the Hutongs in the major cities such Beijing this century, not to mention the destruction of the temples 70 years ago during the communist revolution.
When I read this context-free article all I could think of was Henry VIII's destruction and confiscation of the monasteries. Now it's just a historical aspect of a larger movement.
This feels tragic to me, but honestly it's hard to tell if it even is or not from that one article.
We marvel at how quickly they built up high speed rail, but when you can just seize land without regard to imminent domain, associated lawsuits and the like, things tend to get expedited.
We detached this comment from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11929011 and marked it off-topic.
And, as we are talking about human rights here, please take a look on another side: The Tibet itself. If there were no communists, would it get a better human right record? How do they treat women? Why male student can get a scholarship but females can’t? Could the U.S. government offer any help to this? The people in this news lives in another society, none of them has western education, so you can’t wish them conforming to western standards. How can you convince them in a peaceful way?
Firstly - China doesn't have a great human rights record right now. They have an excellent economy.
The earlier communists themselves have one of the worst human rights records.
And you don't "convince" anybody. You let them choose for themselves. Without that part - without being able to choose a bad choice, people can't learn from those mistakes.
You think the west learnt from someone else? People learn from their history and their context.
Remove that from them and well - you remove their ability to have their own identity and history.
Rights can only be understood by the masses after they have examples, leaders, or history which they can translate/relate to.
Thats why India has Gandhi, South Africa has Mandela.
Its very obvious whats happening here, civilization is being brought to the savages.
"The west" learnt diddly squat, but even if we assume "we" did -- the most significant turn-point of Western history in the last 150 years was the Holocaust. Are we saying any ethnic conflict on the planet will have to go through a holocaust before anyone "learns"?
> Thats why India has Gandhi
... and still discriminates and kills Muslims on a massive scale, even after partition.
> South Africa has Mandela
... and is now all but enacting white-discrimination in public institutions.
My point is that the concept of history as a progression of "lessons" is optimistic at best, and if we don't keep pushing at all times, things can revert to shit pretty quickly. UK news this week were a sober reminder that we are not all as civilized as we pretend to be.
As an Indian, I'm shocked to hear this. Did you ever live in India? "Massive scale", my ass. At least India didn't wipe out its population in a "Cultural Revolution"... Do you want to talk about Falun Gong? The harvesting of organs from FG prisoners?
Political Correctness = Fine tuned reports from the media leading some topics + Lazy and emotional followers with little first-hand experience + Political groups representing a few radical protestors.
These politically correct people never reflect on their worldview despite repeat messup, because thinking like that makes them feel good and it's morally correct!
However, the realities are more complicated than the reported 'facts' with purposefully tuned spectrum.