This morning I received a phone call. It said you envoys arrived in Peking on January 25. It said you would make your first visit to the province of Hunan. It is said that Hunan is the birthplace of Mao Tse-tung. It is said that after a few days of sightseeing, real talks will take place in Peking. Unlike in the past, it is said, for the success of the talks, this time a special prayer and ritual is being performed in Drepung monastery, South India.
Dear envoys of the Dalai Lama, have you finished your tour? How is the landscape of Hunan province? How are the people of Hunan province? Did you see portraits of Chairman Mao there?
This morning I made a telephone call to Kashag and asked about you envoys. The Kashag said it placed into your hands a document outlining, in detail, ways to achieve meaningful autonomy for the entire Tibetan people. The Kashag said the envoys are traveling once again to present this document to the Chinese Government. Dear envoys, is that true? Is this the only job you have this time? Do you understand all the nuances of this document? Do you think the Chinese officials will acknowledge this document?
From January 18 to 20, the Chinese government organized the so-called fifth Tibet Work Committee meeting in Peking, during which it reaffirmed its position that China’s policy in Tibet is correct, devoid of any errors. During your talks, are you envoys going to contradict this and say China’s policies in Tibet are incorrect and error-ridden? Or are you envoys going to return in silence, after completing your tour and presenting the document to the Chinese officials? Dear envoys, please tell us!
Dear envoys, have you heard this: right before you left for China, the Chinese government sentenced monk Yeshi Jinpa from Sog county in Kham, nun Chodron, laymen Tenzin Dhargey, and Norbu Sangpo to one to three years of rigorous imprisonment respectively? They are presently kept in dark prisons, dear envoys. Even worse than that is the case of artist Tashi Dhondup, who has been sentenced to more than seven months in prison for singing so-called “politically subversive songs”. Dear envoys, have you listened to his songs? He composed and sang this song, dear envoys:
Some say I am cruel
Some say I am kind
It doesn’t matter I am cruel or kind
For Tibet, the Land of Snows
I will offer this song
This song of pain and suffering,
Of being separated from my Lama
I don’t regret
Even if it cost my life
While listening to this song, a strong chill went down my spine; my whole body trembled. Tears welled up in my eyes. Dear envoys, what kind of feelings the song evoked in you?
Dear envoys, how was your tour to the province of Hunan? Did you breathe a clean air there? How was the food of Hunan? Did it taste good?
Dear envoys, have you heard this: that on December 26, trulku Jangchup Rinpoche, monk Sangye Gyatso, and Apo Ma were arrested by the Chinese security forces? It is said that as soon as you envoys set foot in China, the Chinese government had further tightened its noose on Lhasa; that security forces patrolling the streets of Lhasa swelled to huge numbers.
Dear envoys, have you heard this: that on December 26, cadres from the Cultural and Public Security Bureau raided all the Internet cafés in Lhasa, clamping down on my freedom to chat with friends on the Internet?
Dear envoys, what if Tibet once again plunges into a vicious cycle of bloodshed after your arrival in China? Can you envoys then have a peaceful and contented sleep?
Dear envoys, some powerful countries in the West have welcomed your tour to China and your talks with the Chinese officials. It appears they have a reason behind this. It is said that another goal behind your tour to China and talks is to showcase your heartfelt acknowledgment of the concerns expressed by all the countries that support Tibet. However, I still don’t understand how you are going to do this.
Dear envoys, perhaps you are not aware of this: while you are sightseeing, some of the monks in my hometown have been ordered to surrender their phone numbers to the Chinese security officials, that if they are to spent more than one hour in internet cafés, they have had to obtain a written permission from them. Dear envoys, are you aware of these repressive measures?
Dear envoys, are you going to return in silence after submitting the document to the Chinese government officials? Or are you going to discuss the current situation in Tibet, of cases of torture and arbitrary arrests, with them? Are you going to speak on this, dear envoys? When you return after presenting your suggestions and opinions, do you think the Tibetan political prisoners will be set free? Do you think it will help overcome the pain and agony of their family members?
Recently, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) published its annual human rights report for the year 2009. The report documented that in 2009 alone, 300 Tibetans have been arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned. Dear envoys, before your return to Dharamsala, can you help release at least 10 political prisoners, if not the whole 300 of them?
Dear envoys, during your tour in China, have you ever kept your eyes on what’s happening inside Tibet? I have a reason behind this question. I still vividly remember an incident, dear envoys. It occurred after the great peaceful demonstrations that swept throughout Tibet in 2008. Moment after returning to Dharamsala from your visit to China, you envoys met the press and issued a statement. During that press conference, the present deputy editor of Bod Kyi Bangchen (Tibet Express), Mr. Chonyid Woeser, asked you envoys a question: Are you envoys aware of Chinese security forces firing on unarmed Tibetans in Chamdo? To this, the chief envoy, Mr. Lodi Gyari, said: “We have not heard of it at all … nobody called us to relay this information.” For an ordinary Tibetan citizen like me, this answer still gives me pain and suffering. Dear envoys, while touring China, you might have been told to switch off your mobile phones, to shut down your laptops. Dear envoys, how did you then pay attention to all the incidents occurring in Tibet? How did you call Tibetans outside Tibet to seek information? If you are asked these questions when you return to Dharamsala this time, what kind of answers are you envoys going to give?
Dear envoys, even as I am writing this article, I heard that you all have arrived in Peking. Have you already submitted to the Chinese officials the document that outlines in detail the ways to achieve meaningful autonomy for the entire Tibetan people? What was their reaction? Did the Chinese officials read out to you envoys the lengthy report that explained China’s grand plans to develop Tibet’s economy and society? Did you envoys put forward any suggestions regarding this plan? Did you criticize the unbearable repressive situation inside Tibet? Did you put forward your demands for the unconditional release of all Tibetan political prisoners?
Dear envoys, did the Chinese officials listen to and acknowledge your views and opinions?
Dear envoys, when you finish your tour, don’t make haste; take your time, there’s no hurry in making a return journey. Dear envoys, I pray for your safe return to Dharamsala!
This article was originally published in Tibetan in the latest issue of Bod kyi dus bab, and was translated by Tenzin Nyinjey.