The warm scent of coffee wafted out of Price Center’s Starbucks as I sat outside in the breezy air, waiting for Yuki Huang, a second year at Revelle College. While we bantered, the name of her home province in China, Fujian, came up and, remarking at my pronunciation, she asked if I could speak Mandarin.

I could; it was the first language I was taught as a child. But as an American-born Chinese, I also lacked the cultural knowledge of my country’s history to adequately explain Chinese international students’ recent outrage over the 14th Dalai Lama speaking at this year’s commencement. Daughter of a doctor and civil servant of the Chinese government, Huang attempted to explain her perspective to me.

“Almost every international student dislikes [the Dalai Lama],” she started off, “because he is to China what Edward Snowden is to America. We all regard him as a traitor.”

I winced, telling her Edward Snowden was a personal hero of mine. Without missing a beat, she clarified to me, “Maybe the Western media portrays him as a spiritual leader who loves peace, but in reality he is definitely involved in all types of politics. He wants to be a dictator in Tibet; he doesn’t really want to liberate Tibet but wants to control Tibet through violence.”

Before I even opened my mouth to say anything about Chinese media, she stopped me. “I’m not brainwashed by propaganda or anything,” she said to me, giggling. “I don’t watch news that often.”

Huang tried to give me a quick history lesson, explaining that Tibet was historically part of China. According to her claims, Tibet under the Dalai Lama had a feudalist system that perpetuated slavery and serfdom, with a small elite in control. The Tibetan government asserted that the serfs’ status was a result of its misdeeds in a past life, preventing them from protesting their living conditions. A war broke out in 1950 between the People’s Liberation Army of China and Tibet; the Dalai Lama, who supposedly wanted to control Tibet through a violent authoritarian regime and was backed with weapons by the CIA, escaped to India. Now, while China attempts to modernize Tibet by sending in workers and eradicating an outdated culture that supports slavery, the Dalai Lama continues to spread propaganda in an attempt to retake control of an independent Tibet.

Facts related to Tibet and China are murky, but much of what Huang told me appeared to have a basis in fact, or at the very least, to be truer than many versions of history I’ve heard. Peter Hessler from the Atlantic, who visited Tibet in the 1990s, claims in “Tibet Through Chinese Eyes” that while Tibet’s claims for independence might be “more compelling than the Chinese version,” China probably has a “stronger historical claim to Tibet than the U.S. does to much of the American West,” citing Chinese rule of the region dating back centuries. Reports of a serfdom in Tibet are also concerns which, while perhaps exaggerated, may not be completely invalid either: While Tibetan scholars in the West are in agreement that there was no historical serfdom, the Chinese assert that “95 percent of the population were hereditary serfs and slaves owned by monasteries and nobles,” as cited by Hessler. Furthermore, the Tibetan government under the Dalai Lama engaged in some human rights abuses of its own: for instance Lungshar, a political figure who challenged the conservative elite in the 1930s, had both eyes gouged out for allegedly plotting a coup. Accusations that the Dalai Lama has been used by the United States to fight the Chinese government are not unfounded either. As tensions between the U.S. and communist regimes ran high in the 1950s, the CIA did indeed support the Dalai Lama with propaganda distribution, intelligence and political espionage to counter Chinese influence in Tibet.

As an English teacher at the Linzhi No. 2 High School two years ago, Huang had personal experience living in Tibet. She was one of many teachers from various provinces sent to Tibet along with others who helped build the region’s infrastructure. Defensively, Huang told me that Tibetans enjoy far more rights than other Chinese citizens and their capital city is developing even faster than her own home province, thanks to support from the Chinese government.

“They can stick with their marriage culture and marry more than one person. The United States doesn’t allow Mormons to do that, but we allow Tibetans to.”

Huang said most of the Tibetans she interacted with seem to be happy with their situation. “When I say I think most Tibetans don’t want to be independent, I mean the Tibetans who live in Tibet, not the Tibetans who live in India,” she clarified. “I have talked to some Tibetans in Tibet, and they regard him as a fraud and a dictator rather than a religious leader.”

For Huang, the invitation of the Dalai Lama to commencement is an insult. Passionately, and despite the fact that she is not graduating, she reminded me that commencement is a time of celebration.

“International students have to celebrate their graduation, and they will invite their parents. They will fly all the way from China to the U.S., and when they are so happy, they’ll see this guy who tries to split their country giving a speech here.”


Read Also:
Dalai Lama to Speak at Commencement || Lauren Holt, News
Why I Won’t Accept the Dalai Lama as Commencement Speaker || Ruixuan Wang, Op-Ed


Some students, especially online, have attempted to silence Chinese international students by telling them they have no place to complain about commencements speakers in a school where they are “guests.”

“This is discrimination,” Huang said angrily. “Just because we’re foreigners, we’re not treated as part of the UC community. Our voices deserve to be heard.”

⋅⋅⋅

The next week at the same Starbucks, I talked to Yuxiao Fang. Since it was a drizzly day, we sat inside. Fang, a junior cognitive science major from Xian, China, was quieter than Huang but talked rapidly. Like Huang, he started off with an analogy about the Dalai Lama splitting his home country.

“You don’t want anyone to split [your country] in any way, just as you wouldn’t want Texas to be an independent country from now on.”

I grimaced at the analogy, personally knowing plenty of people at UC San Diego who sure wouldn’t mind. Sitting up, I ask him what he thinks when people suggest the Dalai Lama inciting violence is Chinese propaganda.

“You say it’s Chinese propaganda, but it might be international propaganda against China,” he said nonchalantly. “Every coin has two sides. Check both when you make a decision.”

As a junior, Fang, like Huang, won’t actually be attending commencement, and he knows that it is unlikely that UCSD will uninvite the Dalai Lama as speaker, citing damage to our school’s reputation, since we invited him first. Instead, his goal is to start a conversation between students and administration. He hopes that UCSD will consider students’ opinions when making decisions—especially, he claims, when wrong decisions can be hurtful to their future career prospects.

“I’ve heard of a college that had the Dalai Lama come to commencement, and afterward, one of the Chinese students came back to China to look for work. During [this process], his HR just said, ‘I heard your college commencement speaker was the Dalai Lama so I can’t give you a chance.’ Not only is it hurting our feelings, it’s hurting our professional careers. That’s a rare case, but I mention it as a possibility.” Though the Dalai Lama indeed spoke at Tulane University in 2013, a source could not be found to verify this anecdote.

⋅⋅⋅

Huang and Fang both vehemently support free speech. Fang cited it as the reason he is making his voice heard. He explained that if UCSD can invite the Dalai Lama to commencement, then students can tell everyone how they feel about the event. Huang wished that UCSD invited the Dalai Lama to a different event instead, so that students could choose whether to attend. Of course, graduating seniors can indeed choose to not attend, but who wants to miss commencement?

At the end of the day, I was still left confused by what the facts were. Pages about these controversies are long and dense, and fact-checking this article proved to be nearly impossible. For example, simply checking if slavery existed in Tibet was difficult: Sources supporting China claim that Tibet, prior to 1959, had a population that was 95 percent serfs. This is the same viewpoint Huang and Fang tried to give me. Other sources, such as Heidi Fjeld’s Commoners and Nobles, argues that the situation in Tibet was more analogous to a caste hierarchy, or that the Chinese government did not improve the situation by invading and that Tibet was well on its way to reforming itself. These sources contend that China’s imposition of their communist regime on Tibet has resulted in worse human rights violations and the suppression of Tibet’s buddhist tradition. I still don’t know what the truth is. But you don’t have to have a strong opinion on the affairs of Tibet and China to lend an ear to other students who have something to say about it.


Other sources to read:
Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth, by Michael Parenti. Published January 2, 2007
This Was the Perilous Trek to Tragedy, by Frank Bessac. Published in LIFE, November 13, 1950
Human Rights Violations in TibetStatement by Elliot Sperling. Published by Human Rights Watch, June 13, 2000


Read Also:
The 0.43%: Native Americans at UCSD || Jade Wong
Shouting in Silence: Protesting for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide || Susanti Sarkar
Breaking the Boundaries of Communication: Professor Daniel Hallin || Tia Ikemoto


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48 COMMENTS

  1. These hopefully naive Chinese students may think, it is their rights to speak irresponsibly in a democratic nation.
    (Rights always comes with responsibility).

    #UCSD #ChineseStudentinUS
    But if they do really care about that very right then they should go out and protest Chinese dictators coming abroad not the Dalai Lama.

    Restraining Dalai Lama means covering the dark human rights records of CCP.

    Restraining the Dalai Lama means ignoring thousands of brave Chinese students who came out in Tiananman Square and fought for their freedom.
    (Whom are never forgotten, however, sadly in a dictatorial capitalist China, these heroism are hard to come by in this generation of Chinese youth, may be a sign of CCP’s indoctrination is working for them or simply a mouth piece of CCP).

    Restraining the Dalai Lama means forgetting that bravest Tank Man, who had given hope to billions.

    Restraining Dalai Lama means simply a sign of lacking academic moral stand.

    Restraining Dalai Lama means ignoring the fact that more than 140 Tibetans who self-immolated for the very freedom that these naive Chinese students are misusing in a democratic society, unfortunately using face of reputed Academic institutions abroad.

    When the day comes that those institutions started kowtowing these naive Chinese students, slowly it will not only plague the very roots of academic institutions all over the world but also brings disaster which could define the moral compass. Fortunately, which is very unlikely.

    There is no question that these hopefully naive Chinese student don’t really care about the academic integrity and not taking the courage to know the truth besides what they have learned at their schools in China or simply acting as mouth piece of CCP.

  2. the simplest & most logical answer lies in the language & kul2r. if ppl have different languagez they have had THOUSANDZ uv yrz uv separ8 d-velopement & hence not the same.this also is true 4 taiwan since itz aboriginal ppl are indo-malayz whose languagez, customz, etc..r closely rel8ted 2 ppl indigenous 2 the philippines & indonesia. settler colonial propaganda iz the same wether itz the russians in ukraine, the french in polynesia ,the britz in australia, the euros in the u.s, Hawaii etc, ……
    u can lie about it all u want 2 & d-lude yorself 2 yor empty heartz content but it wont change the fakt that u r an outsider actively wurkin 2 4c yor way uv life on ppl who havv gotten along kwite well without u 4 MILLINIUMZ, …..

  3. A few Chinese students contacted me and expressed their support for the Dalai Lama speech and concerns about the negative consequences of the Chinese Students & Scholars Association (CSSA)-organized boycott on the reputation and interests of all Chinese internationals. But if they spoke in a public way, they would probably face harassments and threats. In 2009, a Duke University student Wang Qianyuan was bullied by her fellow Chinese students for urging for dialogue between Chinese and Tibetans. They called her a traitor, menaced her with violence, leaked her personal information to the mobs who later attacked her home in China. Their audacity, as well as the CSSA’s, was evidently galvanized by the Chinese government’s encouragements, funds and instructions, which is true for the CSSA who repeatedly acknowledges consulate affinity on Chinese social media and in their official statements.

    • its sad to hear the story of the duke student. Everyone considers North Korea is bad and they are cut off from the rest of the world. I can tell the joke that North Korea national TV announced they made it to the World Final 2014 Brazil when they did not even qualify. And then China is second after that. Facebook is not allowed and they wanted their own version of Google. That’s is like 90% of the world information. I am sure its matter of time that these Chinese International students will collectively say “ENOUGH is ENOUGH”. It’s just plain wrong to shunt one point half billion people from the rest of the world – its simply WRONG. period. Isn’t that a basic human right?????????

  4. Before I want to comment on your articles, I have a strong feeling that how I can make you believe that all your views and thoughts about the nation of Tibet and its spiritual and temporal leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama the XIV as well as all successive Dalai Lamas is totally misleading. The Chinese claim of Tibet as their integral part is same as saying the USA is a part of this Universe. Historically, this is not at all a fact. The political conditions in Tibet prior to Chinese occupation of Tibet is life a serfdom as you explain may be right to some extend but then does it justify China to occupy Tibet and say that I took it violently because its political condition is serfdom and I want to modify it. What Mao Zedong said to His Holiness the Dalai Lama is still resounding in all our ears, he said.” Right now Tibet needs development and China can help it develop. After 20 or so years, Tibetan will able to help China”. Later when Tibetan knew the real intention of Chinese Communist Leaders, then there was revolt and then His Holiness has to flee to India. As you said that Tibetans in Tibet are free and contended. If it is so then why has there been continuous self immolation and why does China need to deploy so many armed military in Lhasa and elsewhere. Why don’t they continue with the representatives of Tibetan Administration in exile, Dharamsala, the peaceful settlement issue of Tibetans in Tibet. You young and energetic body and brains, have so much to learn and study to reach the actual fact. So you need to study more and with sophisticated mind from the angle of impartiality. You were saying that your students will have their career ruined in China if His Holiness the Dalai Lama, speaks in your university because China is saying His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a splitist and you think so. If Chinese government do such things to their own country students, then you imagine, what can they doing with Tibetan people. So try to rise from your own narrow thought and look to the world and its surroundings, more objectively to the leaders of your own country, what do they do and think, what is their main motivation. Do they really think for the benefit of all Chinese and Tibetans in general or do they preserve their own status among the Chinese masses and keeping them brainwash and away from the realistic thoughts.

  5. My first question is how would you feel if some one invade your house. How would you feel and what would you do??
    Secondly, we tibetans have been speaking up for our freedom for decades and we will speak for generation to come because it’s not our iPhone we lost it’s our homeland. A big big happy land.

    And then when you speak about the commencement first sort out about your freedom in China. You don’t have internet rights ,you are being controlled. You can’t open up anything regarding freedom and democracy in google @ your country. When you say you don’t get a job when you go back home because of dalai lama being the speaker for your commencement!!! Haha
    I mean why ??? Are you guys being so much controlled by your gov. Why China is fear of one simple monk who only does is speaks for his freedom.
    You know why because of the truth and the fact that Tibet is not a part of china.
    Why the media and press don’t have freedom in China??
    Answer me that. I have Chinese friend but I never hate them because they are innocent but we here at talking about Chinese communist party.(CCP)

  6. Y these Shinass…chinnn..always comes after slavery…idiot!
    U believe and love your parents..that’s why u respect them…is this still called slavery..maybe in China only,,,lol

  7. Poorly written article not worth published due to poor research and unethically biased stand and lack of balance and substantiality. I would give an F.

  8. I felt that the article is very biased from the beginning. It was well covered under the name of being some American- Chinese having conversations with Main Lamd Chinese and in a pursued to find the truth. How come the author didn’t interview any other student who has different opinion? And how come he is only quoting them saying negative comments about Dalai Lama? Dalai Lama may not be the spiritual leader that everyone follows but at least he is not the one who supports the separation of China and Tibet, if you are still confused then I suggest you to do further research on Middle-Way policy and there is plenty of materials regarding that.

  9. Many Quebec people wanted to separate from Canada, and we let them vote about it, even though Quebec is in the middle of Canada, and was only ever owned by France and by Native people. It was never considered a separate country.
    Why can’t Tibetans also have a peaceful vote?
    Also, I read online that California is considering separating from the rest of the U.S., because of Trump. Nobody seems upset about that.

  10. Fact in 1913 all Chinese (Han) were evicted from Tibet (via India). Fact Tibet had its own currency, stamps, Passports etc. Fact Chinese sent Official Missions (as did the British) to Lhasa for short visits until 1936 when both set up “Trade Missions”. Fact until 5th October 1950 Tibet was a de facto country. Just how long does a country have to be independent?
    Sure the Manchus had Suzrainty over Tibet from 1644 but by 1888 it was over as the British found to their cost when they entered into treaties with China, treaties that China were unable to keep.
    Fact China claims/claimed many (if not all) of its neighbours as “Part of China” from parts of Russia and India to whole countries.

    • These sort of arguments have no end. Based on current international law and diplomacy, most major countries in the world including the United States acknowledge that Tibet is part of China.

      What if the Hopi or First Nation demand independence or even autonomy from the USA. Does the same logic apply?

  11. While the Tibetans in Tibet are not even able to heave a breath without fear, would you still believe they would feel the truth to an interview with them by a Chinese? Specially about such sensitive issues like human rights and freedom and Dalai Lama? I lived my half life in Tibet. I know the facts by experience.

  12. Almost every Chinese believe that Tibet is under China for centuries including the writer of the above article. A quick search on google returns: China itself is not existed properly; broken into many warlords (link below) from 1916 to 1950 including the civil wars, and how is Tibet under China during those years. That’s like 34 years, my friends.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warlord_Era#/media/File:Warlords_1925.png

    Look at Tibetan and Chinese flags September 1934 National Geographic.
    http://www.rangzen.net/2004/09/04/tibetan-flag-in-1934-national-geographic/

    Chinese flag (cann’t find the picture in the same magazine) used at that time:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_China_(1912%E2%80%9349)#/media/File:Flag_of_the_Republic_of_China.svg

    We Tibetans still using the same flag. Hope this helps little bit.
    Free Tibet

  13. I am dying, hahaha..
    Most Tibetans living in Tibet are not allowed to say something negativ, how will they say that they want to be independant? If they are lucky they will put to jail and abused. If they are not lucky they will be killed…
    You you really think you are not brain washed?
    How will China claim to liberate them? From what? Study your own history, being a student at a university does not automatically say that you are smart.
    Btw have a look to National Geographics, there was an edition with country flags, Tibet was then a indepentant country.

  14. WoW i am just surprise how this writer of the article is so confused c if a Chinese student attended the conference somewhere around the world and goes back to china where he did not get the job cause of his addiance with His Holinese The 14th Dalai Lama, what does it say about his country. As far as we Tibetan we completely believe in our spiritual leader

  15. Chinese dogs…..Thy only knw hw to bark….extremely stubborn….whneva thr is a Tibet related issues goin on in social media whr majority of thm hav mentioned about slavery, surfs…..i say these are histories…..whn Tibet was independent nation Tibetan people were deeply devotee of religion, cultural,no education,loyalty,monasteries ….. living a very simple without any interference of other countries. Its sad that mass younger generations Chinese so called educated without even knowing the actual fact thy react very brutal. Since china suppression in Tibet n killing many Tibetan those who strictly refused to oblige under thm are being leased tortured…Y Tibetan have burned themselves in thr own land….thy wans to shw the world hw mch thy suffer under chinese regime which thy could hold…. well china has massively developed Tibet in infrastructure spending millions n in result transporting natural resources widely to china without the notice of outsider. Tibetan administration n H.H.The 14th Dalai Lama always wanted to have a dialogue peacefully wit china but thy don seems to appreciate it n tag him as separatist. His holiness who is loved by the entire world for his dedication to spread peace, kindness,compassion n thy hav again tag him as devil….no clue in wt world…..chinese shud first go bck to thr own history n talk abut Tibet being indulge in serf,slavery…..Whn u point a finger to others make sure tht three finger falls on ur side…
    Free Tibet
    Long live His Holiness The Dalai Lama

    • We know that the suppression is China-wide not just for Tibet. This is part of the long-term socio-political development of a country. Not long ago, Africans were even worse off as slaves in America. So to just zero in on Tibet will be forgetting that the Chinese administration has a country of 1.x billion to manage in the best way they can at the moment.

  16. I was interested in tibetan buddism when I was young and I practiced tummo and other meditation for many years, the only ability I got is cold tolerant. Didn’t gain anything psychic or supernatural as is claimed in the book. At some point in your life you have to wake up and realize that some great things depicted by others like supernatural power, heaven, santa, democracy or communism are nonexistent. There is no shortcut for humankind to develop the civilization, there is no dues ex machina to stop the conflict or create a utopia. Religions are benign lies at best. Now I believe that the only power lies in math and science, which are the true honor of the human spirit. Don’t quite care about some old man giving speech in the commencement, the speech itself would be very predictable and abound with empty words like “love” and “peace” and “pray”. All I see is groups of apes with different ideology fighting against each other, how pathetic. One should not accept everything other people or media told you, one should go out and experience the world with one’s own eyes. Take the red pill and explore the world!

    • If you were going after something “psychic” or “supernatural”, you were acting out of ignorance and ego from the start. You ignore the true goal of their beliefs, then insult it because you didnt achieve some superficial goal.

      • We are born ignorant, it is only through education do we acquire knowledge. I learned enough to understand those things are just fantasy. That’s why I think there should be laws to prevent minors from engaging in any kind of religious activity. Missionaries preach their religion through making promises like you can go to heaven when you die, 72 virgins await, or you can gain supernatural power if you practice hard enough. People took these baits one way or another. Only few religions have gods without personality, and don’t care if you believe it or not. These gods generally don’t have many worshippers because they offer no benifits. Religions are memes, or virus competing with each other for more hosts, monks don’t work, they need believers’ contribution to survive, some religions mix with politics and don’t want to surrender the power. There are no true goals or beliefs, before buddism came to Tibet, there is Bon, and now there are catholic churchs in Tibet.

    • Even if you don’t believe in supernatural or …or u believe only in science n math …but I guess you least believe in humanity…this is what religion…you don’t have to be necessarily Buddhism..idiot..
      Anyhow..idiot are always idiot!

      • You are being so naive, go study anthropology and history. Human are dangerous, from the start, we eliminate Denisovans, Neanderthals and all other kins. There will be such a long list if I write down all the persecutions, discriminations, civil wars or terrorisms caused by religious beliefs. If you have anything better to say than swearing, please enlighten me.

        • Wu Ming,
          You seem to have you missed:
          1. Jesus Christ.
          2. Mother Theresa
          3. Buddha
          4. Bill and Melinda Gates
          5. Emperor Kangxi
          6. Abraham Lincoln
          7. Mahatma Gandhi
          etc.

    • Listen to this great learned man of us all!! Wow..bravo! U do not know even the ABC of Buddhism, least of tibetan buddhism and here u are with your perfect conclusion. CONGRATULATIONS! Hear it, our frd here went on to discover the potential of sacred meditions like tummo and failed miserably. Fool, do you even know what Buddha told his disciples regarding special ability which one attains after reaching certain level of deep meditations? He told his faithful disciples not to publicly demonstrate the special ability because those abilities to the eyes of viewers would gain more importance than the actual practice of dharma. I’m too sure when u started, as u CLAIM, the practice of meditation as sacred as tummo, all u were thinking about was supernatural power without even Contemplating the actual purpose of this practices..that’s why u failed..no doubt!
      As the saying goes ” even to copy someone you need brain “. Brainless ignorant pretending to be the only one who have understood the phenomenon of this whole universe..be my guest and keep on pretending.

      • I stopped practice because I learned enough to know that no mechanisms in the human body can support such abilities. Tummo is just a special breathing method, anyone with enough practice can use it to rise their body temperature by increasing blood flow or stimulating the autonomic nervous system. So does many other kind of meditations, some breathing methods reduce blood flow in the brain so practitioner would experience some wired feelings. I knew all the things you said, I read surangama sutra. I am just being honest, those abilities are the things that attract me in the first place.

  17. Reading the views of some of the Chinese students at UC San Diego made me think that it might be worth their while to take the opportunity, like their fellow countrymen in the East Coast did some years back (see a report of that 2013 meeting below), to sit down with His Holiness the Dalai Lama to exchange ideas. Over the years, the Dalai Lama has met with several hundred such Chinese from the Mainland. Many of them might not be agreeing with him on many issues but they end up after such meetings with having first hand knowledge of the Dalai Lama and his thoughts, rather than simply following what they might have heard. We all know the Chinese saying, ” Hearing a hundred times is not as good as seeing once.”

    The report also contains the following reference, which indeed is the reality in China today.

    “His Holiness wondered whether discussions like this could be held inside China and the participants replied that they could not. As the meeting drew to a close the suggestion was made that His Holiness could reach out to people in China through the internet. His Holiness said that he had already done that in conversations he has had with Wang Lixiong and that he was ready to do so again if it does not result in negative consequences for those concerned.”

    His Holiness the Dalai Lama met a group of 24 Chinese scholars, writers and poets

    http://tibetoffice.org/media-press/news/his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-meets-chinese-writers-in-new-york

  18. What a thoughtful and well-written article! At first I was frustrated by the controversy surrounding the Dalai Lama’s invitation to commencement, but now I feel that, although my own opinion hasn’t changed, I understand the issue much more clearly. It’s interesting to hear about the lives of other students, and to empathize with their understanding rather than dismissing any viewpoint as tainted by biased media. I don’t know what the media is truly like in China, but I know that my own education has been biased because I feel such a strong instinct to assume that all media in China is completely untrustworthy.

  19. 1) Let’s draw some analogy from the author’s argument. “Almost every British student hates 45% of the Scottish people for betraying and trying to split the United Kingdom.” “Almost every Mongolian student hates most of the Chinese students at UCSD for enjoying the 1368 dissolution of the Mongolian Empire which gave rise to an independent China.”

    2) Contrary to the author’s statement, the Dalai Lama, who has never pledged allegiance to the extraneous regime that invaded his homeland and butchered his people in the way that the Japanese Empire did to China, advocates not the independence of Tibet but the Middle Way. It’s a lie that His Holiness attempts to separate Tibet from China in the same justifiable way that the Chinese rebels fought to separate East China from the Japanese Empire.

  20. “Almost every British student hates 45% of the Scottish people for betraying and trying to split the United Kingdom.” “Almost every Mongolian students most of the Chinese student at UCSD for enjoying the 1368 dissolution of the Mongolian Empire which gave rise to an independent China.”

  21. I almost feel sorry for these students. Not only is their basic understanding of history and ability to think critically pretty shallow, their arguments aren’t even coherent. While they certainly do have the right to complain about a commencement (or any invited) speaker, the grounds on which they are doing so is completely fallacious. The DL has openly advocated the Middle Way policy, stepped down from having a political role (preferring a democratically elected leader), and vehemently advocates nonviolent action. YOU as the author have a responsibility to point these things out. Just letting completely inaccurate statements stand without correcting them is unethical. Would you likewise leave un-clarified a comment of a Holocaust Denier?

    Moreover, none of this article reflects UCSD’s academic training program particularly well. You and your informants MUST be aware that there is – surprise – actually peer-reviewed, scholarly work on all of these issues. Yet you failed to cite any. Tsering Shakya, Wang Lixiong, Goldstein, Sperling, Barnett, and literally hundreds of others have published numerous articles and books that outline the social and political histories of these places. Chinese sources are not that much harder to find – although they are rarely peer reviewed. If you had actually done any real research, you would have found plenty of answers to your questions, or at least more nuanced understandings.

    I appreciate your attempt to really hear the students in this article, but at what point do you actually have a responsibility to critically evaluate what you are being told?

    I think the real comment here is that UCSD is featuring 3 students online who all lack basic research and critical thinking skills!

    • “The DL has openly advocated the Middle Way policy, stepped down from having a political role (preferring a democratically elected leader), and vehemently advocates nonviolent action.”

      1. Have you gone into how HH Dalai Lama has split the Tibetans by banning a more than four century old saint protector of his own lineage Dorje Shugden. How he has again split the Tibetans by meddling in the recognition of the new Karmapa (not even his lineage). He has also unilaterally decided that the current Panchen Lama is fake despite the fact that he was recognized using traditional methods.

      2. If you dig deeper, you will see that the Sikyong or Prime Minister is not democratically elected. He rigged the elections and used government resources for his personal needs. In fact HH Dalai Lama and the spiritual protectors of Tibetans have admonished him for this. But yet he continues his role to whip up negative sentiment of the Chinese. This is not Middle Way. He is also allied to the revisionist Nippon Kaigi in Japan.

      3. HH Dalai Lama is still Emperor and god among Tibetans. As he does not criticize the many violent actions and non-Middle Way positions of his government and people, how can you separate him from Rangzen (independence movement), Shugden (violence, fights, discrimination amongst Tibetans), the fight amongst the Kagyus, the self immolations in Tibet which he has kept quiet about, etc.

      It is easy to fall prey to HH Dalai Lama’s global brand promulgated by the West especially America. Dig just a little deeper and you will see all the cracks and slime.

    • Yes thank you David! I am part of the Tibetan Women’s Association and we believe in the middle way approach. We are just waiting on China to talk to us and treat us like equals…not happening anytime it feels like.

      • Dear Tsering Yangchen,

        Please ask Lobsang Sangay and his cohorts why China is not talking to them.
        Before anything can even begin, the CTA has befriended right-wing neo-conservatives like the Nippon Kaigi in Japan. The Nippon-Kaigi are revisionists who have many claims including that the Nanking massacre did not happen.

        The CTA has also very publicly pushed His Holiness Dalai Lama’s advice (now reversed) to Vajrayana or tantric practitioners of His Holiness not to practise Dorje Shugden into a hugely splittist agenda, banning, discriminating, fanning, intimidating, attacking, bad-mouthing and downright abusing Dorje Shugden practitioners, Tibetan or not. This includes calling practitioners as being funded by China for example.

        There are more examples. With these kind of very public actions, how do you expect China to come to the table?

  22. Its ridiculous to believe that China wants to eradicate slavery when their past has so many murky episodes of violent suppression in their land eg Tiananmen Square. Its like asking a wolf to babysit chickens

  23. What gives China “greater claim” to Tibet? If Tibetans wanted to separate, isnt that reason enough to leave them alone. I think Chinese are brain washed to believe that Tibet is part of China. China wants parts of Arunachal Pradesh from India. Not sure why would they stop there. Its just misguided patriotism on Chinese. They can censor media in China, but not in rest of the world. They should focus on making their mainland better place to live instead of setting their eyes on rest of the world.

  24. “I have talked to some Tibetans in Tibet, and they regard him as a fraud and a dictator rather than a religious leader.”

    If I were a Tibetan in Tibet and a Chinese person asked me about His Holiness, I’d probably lie and support the party line to avoid being harassed, “re-educated”, tortured, and/or imprisoned. Under the Chinese Communist Party, these college students have been subjected to an endless stream of anti-Dalai Lama propaganda for their entire lives.

    • Have you ever visited China? How do you know that you have not been subjected to an endless stream of pro-Dalai Lama propaganda your entire life?

      • @Yuzzzmi345: I’m amused that you think China’s anti-Dalai Lama propaganda is on the same level as the so-called “pro-Dalai Lama propaganda” that you mention. In China you have no choice but to toe the party line, that is unless you like being in a jail cell.

      • Yuzzzmi345 I lived in Beijing and discussed Tibet with Chinese students (when i got to know them and knew they wouldn’t act nationalistic and crazy, something far too common). I agree with Buzzby. Use your brain for more than nationalism and racial pride.

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