4/14/08 US v China: Communist & Capitalist Again: Information Warfare

China, U.S. enemy #1 when socialist on the revolutionary road to classless communism, is enemy again. In the last 40 years since China, with US aid, restored capitalism too successfully despite Mao's leading the Cultural Revolution against US-backed "capitalist roaders' high in the CCP. The geopolitical strategic all-american-purpose- pretext information war framing its only capitalist rival as a 'threat' to US national security" -- is a deadly threat to the US post-WW2 global dictatorship of terror.



China and America: The Tibet Human Rights PsyOp
4/13/08 By Michel Chossudovsky www.globalresearch.ca/index.php
The human rights issue has been made the centerfold of media disinformation...China's alleged human rights violations in relation to Tibet are highlighted...Western media has barely acknowledged the Fifth "anniversary" of Iraq's "Liberation" and the balance sheet of the US sponsored killings and atrocities perpetrated against an entire population, in the name of a "global war on terrorism"... are more than 1.2 million Iraqi civilian deaths, 3 million wounded. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) indicates a figure of 2.2 million Iraqi refugees who have fled their country and 2.4 million "internally displaced persons": "Iraq’s population at the time of the US invasion in March 2003 was roughly 27 million, and today it is approximately 23 million. Elementary arithmetic indicates that currently over half the population of Iraq are either refugees, in need of emergency aid, wounded, or dead." (Dahr Jamail, Global Research, December 2007)

The Geopolitical Chessboard
There are deep-seated geopolitical objectives behind the campaign against the Chinese leadership.... China has economic ties as well as a far-reaching bilateral military cooperation agreement with Iran. Moreover, China is also an ally of Russia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in the context of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Since 2005, Iran has an observer member status within the SCO. In turn, the SCO has ties to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), an overlapping military cooperation agreement between Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan.

In October of last year the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding, laying the foundations for military cooperation between the two organizations. This SCO-CSTO agreement, barely mentioned by the Western media, involves the creation of a full-fledged military alliance between China, Russia and the member states of SCO/CSTO. It is worth noting that the SCTO and the SCO held joint military exercises in 2006, which coincided with those conducted by Iran. (For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, Russia and Central Asian Allies Conduct War Games in Response to US Threats, Global Research, August 2006)...

The Eurasian Corridor
Since the 2001 invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, the US has a military presence on China's Western frontier, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The U.S. is intent upon establishing permanent military bases in Afghanistan, which occupies a strategic position bordering on the former Soviet republics, China and Iran. Moreover, the US and NATO have also established since 1996, military ties with several former Soviet republics under GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Moldava). In the post 9/11 era, Washington has used the pretext of the "global war against terrorism" to further develop a U.S. military presence in GUUAM countries. Uzbekistan withdrew from GUUAM in 2002.(The organization is now referred to as GUAM).

China has oil interests in Eurasia as well as in sub-Saharan Africa, which encroach upon Anglo-American oil interests... at stake is the geopolitical control over the Eurasian corridor. In March 1999, the U.S. Congress adopted the Silk Road Strategy Act, which defined America’s broad economic and strategic interests in a region extending from the Eastern Mediterranean to Central Asia. The Silk Road Strategy (SRS) outlines a framework for the development of America’s business empire along an extensive geographical corridor. The successful implementation of the SRS requires the concurrent "militarization" of the entire Eurasian corridor as a means to securing control over extensive oil and gas reserves, as well as "protecting" pipeline routes and trading corridors. This militarization is largely directed against China, Russia and Iran.
The militarization of the South China Sea and of the Taiwan Straits is also an integral part of this strategy which, in the post 9/11 era, consists in deploying "on several fronts".

Moreover, China remains in the target for a first strike nuclear attack by the US. In the 2002 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), China and Russia are identified along with a list of "rogue States" as potential targets for a pre-emptive nuclear attack by the US. China is listed in the NPR as "a country that could be involved in an immediate or potential contingency". Specifically, the Nuclear Posture Review lists a military confrontation over the status of Taiwan as one of the scenarios that could lead Washington to use nuclear weapons against China.

China has been encircled: The U.S. military is present in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straights, in the Korean Peninsula and the Sea of Japan, as well as in the heartland of Central Asia and on the Western border of China’s Xinjiang-Uigur autonomous region. Moreover, as part of the encirclement of China, "Japan has gradually been amalgamating and harmonizing its military policies with those of the U.S. and NATO." (See Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Military Alliance: Encircling Russia and China, Global Research, 10 May 2007)

Weakening China from within: Covert Support to Secessionist Movements
Consistent with its policy of weakening and ultimately fracturing the People's Republic of China, Washington supports secessionist movements both in Tibet as wall as in the Xinjiang-Uigur autonomous region which borders onto North Eastern Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In Xinjiang-Uigur, Pakistani intelligence (ISI), acting in liaison with the CIA, supports several Islamist organizations. The latter include the Islamic Reformist Party, the East Turkestan National Unity Alliance, the Uigur Liberation Organization and the Central Asian Uigur Jihad Party. Several of these Islamic organizations have received support and training from Al Qaeda, which is a US sponsored intelligence asset. The declared objective of these Chinese-based Islamic organizations is the "establishment of an Islamic caliphate in the region" (For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, America's War on Terrorism, Global Research, Montreal, 2005, Chapter 2).
The caliphate would integrate Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan (West Turkestan) and the Uigur autonomous region of China (East Turkestan) into a single political entity. The "caliphate project" encroaches upon Chinese territorial sovereignty. Supported by various Wahabi "foundations" from the Gulf States, secessionism on China’s Western frontier is, once again, consistent with U.S. strategic interests in Central Asia. Meanwhile, a powerful U.S.-based lobby is channeling support to separatist forces in Tibet.By tacitly promoting the secession of the Xinjiang-Uigur region (using Pakistan’s ISI as a "go-between"), Washington is attempting to trigger a broader process of political destabilization and fracturing of the People’s Republic of China. In addition to these various covert operations, the U.S. has established military bases in Afghanistan and in several of the former Soviet republics, directly on China’s Western border.The militarization of the South China Sea and of the Taiwan Straits is also an integral part of this strategy.(Ibid)

The Lhasa Riots
The violent riots in Tibet's capital in mid-March were carefully staged. In their immediate aftermath, a media disinformation campaign supported by political by Western leaders directed against China was launched. There are indications that US intelligence played a behind the scenes role in what several observers have described as a carefully premeditated operation.(See our analysis below).

The Lhasa event in mid-March was not a spontaneous "peaceful" protest movement as described by Western media The riots involving a gang of mobsters were premeditated. They had been carefully planned. Tibetan activists in India associated with the Dalai Lama's government in exile "hinted they were indeed expecting the disturbances. But they refuse to elaborate how they knew or who their collaborators were" (Guerilla News). The images do not suggest a mass protest rally but rather a rampage led by a few hundred individuals. Buddhist monks were involved in the rampage. According to China Daily (March 31, 2008), the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) based in India, considered by China as a "hard-line organization" affiliated to the Dalai Lama, was also behind the violence. The TYC's training camps are funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). (See the text of the Congressional Hearings regarding NED support to the TYC)

Video footage confirms that civilians were stoned, beaten and in some cases killed. Most of the victims were Han Chinese. At least ten people were burned to death as a result of acts of arson, according to statements of the Tibet government. These statements were confirmed by several eyewitness reports. According to a China Daily report: "five shop assistants at a clothing store were burnt to death before they had any chance to escape. A 1.7-meter-tall man named Zuo Yuancun was torched down to chunks of horrid flesh and skeletons. A migrant worker had his liver stabbed and bled by mobsters. A woman was beaten hard by the attackers and had her ear sliced off." (People's Daily, March 22, 2008)

Meanwhile, Western media casually described the looting and arson as a "peaceful demonstration" which the Chinese authorities suppressed with the use of force. There are no accurate reports (from Chinese and Western news sources) on the nature of the Chinese police operation launched to repress the riots. Western press reports point to the deployment of more than 1000 soldiers and police in the Tibetan capital. Businesses, schools were attacked, cars were set on fire. According to Chinese reports, there are 22 dead and 623 injured. "Rioters set fire at more than 300 locations, mostly private houses, stores and schools, and smashed vehicles and damaged public facilities."

The planning of the riots was coordinated with the media disinformation campaign, which accused the Chinese authorities of having instigated the looting and arson. The Dalai Lama accused Beijing of "disguising its troops as monks" to give the impression that Buddhist monks were behind the riots. The claims were based on a four year old photograph of soldiers dressing up as monks in a theatrical stage performance (See South China Morning Post, 4 April 2008).

The mainland newspaper {People's Daily] said the security forces quelling riots in Lhasa could not possibly have been wearing the uniforms shown in the photograph because they were summer uniforms, unsuitable for the cold March weather.It also said the PAP had changed to new uniforms in 2005, which feature shoulder emblems. The armed officers shown in the photograph were in old-style uniforms which had been phased out after 2005. ... Xinhua said the photograph was taken during a performance years ago, when soldiers borrowed robes from monks before performing on stage. (Ibid)...2003 photograph used by the media to accuse China of having deliberately instigated the riots.
"This [2003] photo was apparently made when soldiers were ordered to put on robes to play as actors in a movie."
See http://buddhism.kalachakranet.org/chinese-orchestrating-riots-tibet.htm

The Role of US Intelligence
The organization of the Lhasa riots are part of a consistent pattern. They constitute an attempt to trigger ethnic conflict in China. They serve US foreign policy interests. To what extent has US intelligence played an undercover role in the current wave of protests regarding Tibet?
Given the covert nature of intelligence operations, there is no tangible evidence of direct CIA involvement. However, there are various Tibetan organizations linked to the Tibet "government in exile" which are known to be supported by the CIA and/or by the CIA's civilian front organization, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The CIA's involvement in channeling covert support to the Tibetan secessionist movement goes back to the mid-1950s. The Dalai Lama was on the CIA's payroll from the late 1950s until 1974:
The CIA conducted a large scale covert action campaign against the communist Chinese in Tibet starting in 1956. This led to a disastrous bloody uprising in 1959, leaving tens of thousands of Tibetans dead, while the Dalai Lama and about 100,000 followers were forced to flee across the treacherous Himalayan passes to India and Nepal.

The CIA established a secret military training camp for the Dalai Lama's resistance fighters at Camp Hale near Leadville, Colorado, in the US. The Tibetan guerrillas were trained and equipped by the CIA for guerrilla warfare and sabotage operations against the communist Chinese.
The US-trained guerrillas regularly carried out raids into Tibet, on occasions led by CIA-contract mercenaries and supported by CIA planes. The initial training program ended in December 1961, though the camp in Colorado appears to have remained open until at least 1966.

The CIA Tibetan Task Force created by Roger E McCarthy, alongside the Tibetan guerrilla army, continued the operation codenamed "ST CIRCUS" to harass the Chinese occupation forces for another 15 years until 1974, when officially sanctioned involvement ceased.McCarthy, who also served as head of the Tibet Task Force at the height of its activities from 1959 until 1961, later went on to run similar operations in Vietnam and Laos. By the mid-1960s, the CIA had switched its strategy from parachuting guerrilla fighters and intelligence agents into Tibet to establishing the Chusi Gangdruk, a guerrilla army of some 2,000 ethnic Khamba fighters at bases such as Mustang in Nepal.This base was only closed down in 1974 by the Nepalese government after being put under tremendous pressure by Beijing.

After the Indo-China War of 1962, the CIA developed a close relationship with the Indian intelligence services in both training and supplying agents in Tibet." (Richard Bennett, Tibet, the 'great game' and the CIA, Global Research, March 2008)

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which channels financial support to pro-US opposition groups around the World has played a significant role in triggering "velvet revolutions" which serve Washington's geopolitical and economic interests. The NED, not formally part of the CIA, performs an important intelligence function within the arena of civilian political parties and NGOs. It was created in 1983, when the CIA was being accused of covertly bribing politicians and setting up phony civil society front organizations. According to Allen Weinstein, who was responsible for setting up the NED during the Reagan Administration: "A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA." ('Washington Post', Sept. 21, 1991).

The NED provided funds to the "civil society" organizations in Venezuela, which initiated an attempted coup against President Hugo Chavez. In Haiti, the NED supported the opposition groups behind the armed insurrection which contributed to unseating President Bertrand Aristide in February 2004. The coup d' Etat in Haiti was the result of a carefully staged military-intelligence operation. (See Michel Chossudovsky, The Destabilization of Haiti, Global Research, February 2004)

The NED funds a number of Tibet organizations both within China and abroad. The most prominent pro-Dalai Lama Tibet independence organization funded by the NED is the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), founded in Washington in 1988. The ICT has offices in Washington, Amsterdam, Berlin and Brussels. Distinct from other NED funded Tibet organizations, the ICT has a close cozy and " overlapping" relationship with the NED and the US State Department::

Some of ICT’s directors are also integral members of the ‘democracy promoting’ establishment, and include Bette Bao Lord (who is the chair of Freedom House, and a director of Freedom Forum), Gare A. Smith (who has previously served as principal deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor), Julia Taft (who is a former director of the NED, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State and Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, has worked for USAID, and has also served as the President and CEO of InterAction), and finally, Mark Handelman (who is also a director of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights, an organization whose work is ideologically linked to the NED’s longstanding interventions in Haiti). The ICT’s board of advisors also presents two individuals who are closely linked to the NED, Harry Wu, and Qiang Xiao (who is the former executive director of the NED-funded Human Rights in China).

Like their board of directors, ICT’s international council of advisors includes many ‘democratic’ notables like Vaclav Havel, Fang Lizhi (who in 1995 – at least – was a board member of Human Rights in China), Jose Ramos-Horta (who serves on the international advisory board for the Democracy Coalition Project), Kerry Kennedy (who is a director of the NED-funded China Information Center), Vytautas Landsbergis (who is an international patron of the British-based neoconservative Henry Jackson Society – see Clark, 2005), and until her recent death, the “mid-wife of the neocons” Jeane J. Kirkpatrick (who was also linked to ‘democratic’ groups like Freedom House and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies). (Michael Barker, "Democratic Imperialism": Tibet, China, and the National Endowment for Democracy Global Research, August 13, 2007)
Other NED funded Tibet organizations include the Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) referred to earlier. The SFT was founded in 1994 in New York City "as a project of US Tibet Committee and the NED-financed International Campaign for Tibet (ICT). The SFT is most known for unfurling a 450 foot banner atop the Great Wall in China; calling for a free Tibet." (F. William Engdahl, Risky Geopolitical Game: Washington Plays ‘Tibet Roulette’ with China, Global Research, April 2008). The SFT together with five other Tibet organizations proclaimed last January "the start of a 'Tibetan people's uprising" ... and co-founded a temporary office in charge of coordination and financing." ( Ibid)

"The NED also funds the Tibet Multimedia Center for “information dissemination that addresses the struggle for human rights and democracy in Tibet,” also based in Dharamsala. And the NED finances the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy.(Ibid)
There is a division of tasks between the CIA and the NED. While the CIA provides covert support to armed paramilitary rebel groups and terrorist organizations, the NED finances "civilian" political parties and non governmental organizations with a view to instating American "democracy" around the World. The NED constitutes, so to speak, the CIA's "civilian arm". CIA-NED interventions in different part of the World are characterized by a consistent pattern, which is applied in numerous countries.

PsyOp: Discrediting Chinese Leadership
The short-term objective is to discredit the Chinese leadership in the months leading up to the Beijing Olympic games, while also using the Tibet campaign to divert public opinion from Middle East war and the war crimes committed by the US, NATO and Israel. China's alleged human rights violations are highlighted as a distraction, to provide a human face to the US led war in the Middle East. Moreover, US sponsored war plans directed against Iran are barely acknowledged by the Western media. Moreover, with Tibet making the headlines, the real humanitarian crisis in the Middle East is not front page news. More generally, the issue of human rights is distorted: realities are turned upside down, the extensive crimes committed by the US and its coalition partners are either concealed or justified as a means to protecting society against terrorists. A "double standards" in the assessment of human rights violations has been instated. In the Middle East, the killing of civilians is categorized as collateral damage. It is justified as part of the "global war on terrorism". The victims are said to be responsible for their own deaths.

The Olympic Torch
Carefully timed demonstrations on China's human rights violations in Western capitals have been set in motion. A partial boycott of the Olympic games seems to be underway. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (a strong protagonist of US interests who has a relationship to the Bilderbergs), has called for a boycott of the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Kouchner said the idea should be discussed at a meeting of EU foreign ministers. The Olympic torch was lit at a ceremony in Greece, which was disrupted by "pro-Tibet activists". The event was sponsored by "Reporters Without Borders", an organization known to have links to US intelligence. (See, Diana Barahona, Reporters Without Borders Unmasked, May 2005). "Reporters Without Borders" also receives support for the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
The Olympic Torch is symbolic. The Psychological operation (PsyOp) consists in targeting the Olympic torch in the months leading up the Beijing Olympic games. At each phase of this process, the Chinese leadership is denigrated by the Western media.

Global Economic Implications
The Tibet campaign directed against the Chinese leadership could backlash. We are at the crossroads of the most serious economic and financial crisis of modern history. The unfolding economic crisis bears a direct relationship to the US sponsored military adventure in the Middle East and Central Asia. China plays a strategic role with regard to US military expansionism. So far it has not exercised it Veto power in the United Nations Security Council in relation to the several US sponsored UNSC resolutions directed Iran.

China also plays a central role in the global economy and financial system.
Resulting from an accumulated trade surplus with the US, China's now holds 1.5 trillion dollars worth of US debt instruments (including US Treasury bills). It has the ability to significantly disrupt international currency markets. The US dollar would plunge to even lower levels, were China to sell off its dollar denominated debt holdings.(For further details see: F. William Engdahl, op cit)

Moreover, China is the largest producer of a wide range of manufactured goods which constitute, for the West, a significant share of monthly household consumption. Western retail giants rely on the continued and uninterrupted flow of cheap labor industrial commodities from China.
For the Western countries, China's insertion into the structures of global trade, investment, finance and intellectual property rights under the World Trade Organization (WTO) is absolutely crucial. Were Beijing to decide to curtail its "Made in China" manufacturing exports to the US, America's fragile and declining manufacturing base would not be able to fill the gap, at least in the short run. Moreover, the US and its coalition partners including the UK, Germany, France and Japan have important investment interests in China. In 2001, the US and China signed a bilateral trading agreement prior to the accession of China to the WTO. This agreement allows US investors, including the major Wall Street financial institutions, to position themselves in Shanghai's financial and trading system as well as in China's domestic banking market. While China is, in some regards, the West's "cheap labor industrial colony", China's relationship to the global trading system is by no means cast in steel.

China's relationship to global capitalism has its roots in the "Open Door Policy" initially formulated in 1979. (Michel Chossudovsky, Towards Capitalist Restoration. Chinese Socialism after Mao, Macmillian, London, 1986, chapters 7 and 8)


Tibet’s been part of China for 700 years plus!
By Jerry Mazza
Apr 9, 2008

One of the more trendy, if not senseless, causes of our time is the so-called oppression of China against Tibet, whose struggle for “independence” was led by the “heroic” Dalai Lama. To all those true believers, I would suggest a look at the Index-China.com article, China, Tibet and Chinese Nation for the other side of the tale -- or should I say US CIA myth to Balkanize Asia’s greatest power.

Tibet, you will find, has been part of China for more than 700 years. China contains some 56 ethnic groups without a history of racism. The Tibetans are one of those groups and immigrated from another part of China several thousand years ago. Flash forward to 1951 when the Red Army entered Tibet to recover not invade that part of China. Before that, feudal lords in Tibet made up of the 5 percent of the population who owned 95 percent of the means of production -- and were oppressing the people. That’s what this is about.

Buddhism was in fact brought to Tibet from China proper before it assumed its faux role as defender of Tibet against Chinese oppression. The facts are that Britain and America had been working hard trying to separate Tibet from China since the 19th Century. Britain invaded China’s Tibet twice, in 1888 and 1903. The Tibetan army and civilians did resist but were defeated. In a second war against Tibet, the Brits occupied Lhasa and the 13th Dalai Lama was forced to leave the city.

The invaders forced the Tibetan local government to sign the Lhasa convention. But the ministry of external affairs of the then Qing government believed the Lhasa convention would damage national sovereignty. And thus its high commissioner stationed in Tibet refused to sign, leaving the convention ineffectual.

Britain, in fact, exploited the political chaos in China after the Qing Dynasty’s collapse and the birth of the Republic of China in 1901. It presented the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs a five-point demand, which included the denial of China’s sovereignty over Tibet, which the Chinese government rejected. In 1913, the British government further pushed its nose into Chinese business, wheedling certain Tibetan authorities to declare independence with British supervision and support.

In summer 1942, the Tibetan local government, supported by the British, declared the creation of a “foreign affairs bureau,” and carried out “Tibetan independence” activities. Can you imagine the Chinese doing that in Scotland against the Brits? The Chinese people condemned these actions. The national government issued a warning. Under pressure, the ersatz Tibetan government withdrew its decision and reported so to the national government.

Nevertheless in 1949, America newspapers announced, “The United States is ready to recognize Tibet as an independent and free country.” In 1950, weapons were shipped into Tibet through Calcutta in order to resist the Chinese entry into Tibet. US Secretary of Sate Dean Acheson openly slandered what amounted to China’s liberation of its own territory, Tibet, as an “invasion.” The US prodded additional countries to propose intervention at the United Nations on behalf of (China’s) Tibet. That scheme was unsuccessful.

Enter the CIA

First, enter former President George H.W. Bush, declaring that coastal areas of China, plus Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, would split. Then enter the US CIA with a $245,000 investment which would entrust the University of Hawaii to research whether the tense situations in ethnic areas of China would lead to a split of the country. Actually, the research results disappointed their aim.

Prior to that, in 1957, the CIA culled six young men from Tibetans living abroad and sent them to Guam, a US territory, for training in map reading, radio transmission, arms and parachuting. The US trained 170 “Kamba guerrillas” in batches in Hale Camp, Colorado, later air-dropped or sneaked into Tibet to carry out CIA plans. In May '58, two American-trained Kambas brought a transceiver to the headquarters set up by rebel leader Anzhugcang Goinbo Zhaxi in Shannan to keep in contact the CIA.

The US air-dropped arms and ammunition to the rebels in the Chigu Lama Thang plateau and, at the same time, the US clandestinely shipped large amounts of arms and ammo overland to rebels dug in the Shannon areas. The 1959 Tibetan rebellion was just another CIA operation on behalf of the US government. If you think that’s just the Chinese talking, catch this.

The CIA’s Secret War on Tibet

This information is corroborated in Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison’s book, The CIA’s Secret War on Tibet, published by the University Press of Kansas (March 2002), ISBN-10 0700611592. Amazon.com’s book description reads “The CIA's Secret War in Tibet takes readers from training camps in the Colorado Rockies to the scene of clandestine operations in the Himalayas, chronicling the agency's help in securing the Dalai Lama's safe passage to India and subsequent initiation of one of the most remote covert campaigns of the Cold War.

“Conboy and Morrison provide previously unreported details about secret missions undertaken in extraordinarily harsh conditions. Their book greatly expands on previous memoirs by CIA officials by putting virtually every major agency participant on record with details of clandestine operations. It also calls as witnesses the people who managed and fought in the program -- including Tibetan and Nepalese agents, Indian intelligence officers, and even mission aircrews.

“Conboy and Morrison take pains to tell the story from all perspectives, particularly that of the former Tibetan guerrillas, many of whom have gone on record here for the first time. The authors also tell how Tibet led America and India to become secret partners over the course of several presidential administrations and cite dozens of Indian and Tibetan intelligence documents directly related to these covert operations.

“As the movement for Tibetan liberation continues to attract international support, Tibet's status remains a contentious issue in both Washington and Beijing. This book takes readers inside a covert war fought with Tibetan blood and U.S. sponsorship and allows us to better understand the true nature of that controversy. . . ."

A Chinese-American’s point of view

So from Bejing to Kansas, we have a very informed but different view of events concerning “Tibet’s liberation.” Returning to the Index-China.com article, we can scroll past a history of China to History According to Hollywood by Bevin Chu, an American architect of Chinese descent registered to practice in Texas. As of 1998, Chu was living and working in Taiwan, the son of a retired high-ranking diplomat with the ROC, Taiwan government.

In his opening paragraph Chu writes, “Humanitarian Interventionists and Benevolent Global Hegemonists, most of whom lack even a rudimentary understanding of China's long and complex history, share a particularly nasty trait. Many of these Globocops imagine because they have downloaded a few pages of separatist propaganda from tibet.org, and shed a tear or two while watching ‘Seven Years in Tibet,’ that qualifies them as China experts. They believe this qualifies them to pass judgment about whether China ‘deserves’ to remain intact or be forcibly Balkanized by the World's Only Remaining Superpower. Their attitude rivals that of the most contemptible 19th century imperialists.”

Chu also points out in his, “Tibetan Chinese Are Not American Chinese,” that there is 1.5 billion or a 91.5 percent Han-Chinese majority (Han being the largest ethnic group) in contrast to some 5.4 million Tibetan Chinese. Nevertheless, both the large and small ethnic groups were . . ."Conquered by Genghis Khan and his grandson Kublai Khan in the 13th century.

“A century later it was replaced by a Han-Chinese dominated Ming Dynasty, which inherited jurisdiction over the Mongol empire, including the Tibetan region. This is how Tibet, and of course Mongolia, became part of China.” So we are talking about a deep, long-standing relationship between all of these groups to China, and not a “victim-victimizer” point of view as offered by the West. These points are powerfully underscored by NZKOF’s YouTube video.

As Chu points out, “The bottom line is that Tibet was not ‘invaded’ or ‘annexed’ by China in 1959. Because by then the Tibetan region had been part of China for seven centuries. . . . One does not ‘invade’ or ‘annex’ what is already one’s own territory. Bejing dispatched troops to prevent secession by the serf-owning elite which objected to the abolition of slavery, not to implement annexation. Hardly the same thing.”

Perhaps the most salient wrap-up comes in the Chu piece, “If This Be Genocide, Make The Most of It,” in which he points out that if the Chinese Communists had been racially motivated to oppress the Tibetans, they could have cynically left Tibet’s ancient regime in place. He is referring to Tibet’s traditional theocracy, Dali Lama et al, which imposed a policy that sucked up “enormous numbers of hapless Tibetan boys to the priesthood.” Here they would “remain celibate for life. This draconian policy resulted in an alarming decline in Tibet’s population in recent centuries.”

And, much like the Shaker sect in America, centered in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, one I’m personally familiar with, the sect eventually became extinct due to its ban on sex. As Chu says, “Bejing emerges an unlikely hero in this respect. Yet Bejing is ritually reflexively accused by self-styled do-gooders of ‘genocide,’ both ‘cultural’ and racial. Ironies abound.”

The CIA-attempted Balkanization of China has already come with its own blowback of anger at the US from China. And, whatever you think of China, remember we owe them nearly $300 billion in loans. They lent us the money for Bush’s recent rebate. Bottom line, it’s pointless that the US and other Western nations keeps creating impressions that the Chinese are hitting on Tibetans, when in fact recent the recent video from China showed just the opposite, Tibetans in their region attacking Han Chinese who live there.

Each YouTube video underscores earmarks of a divide-and-conquer strategy, which has gotten the US in trouble in so many places. In fact, the first insight of this came to me from a Chinese-American friend, fluent in both languages and cultures as Chu is. He set me straight. My hat is off to him once again.
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York. Reach him at gvmaz@verizon.net.


a U.S. Maoist analysis:
The True Story of Maoist Revolution in Tibet, When the Dalai Lamas Ruled: Hell on Earth
Kalovski Itim
Revolutionary Worker #944, February 15, 1998
This is a backgrounder of the struggle in Tibet and how the US has been building up Dalai Lama to pursue their ideological struggle. In the US many uninformed people had been awed by his philosophy on “peace” and “non-violence”. This article will bare facts to the real color and intent of the Lama, why the US had given him a Nobel Prize and much more.

Hard Climate, Heartless Society
Tibet is one of the most remote places in the world. It is centered on a high mountain plateau deep in the heart of Asia. It is cut off from South Asia by the Himalayas, the highest mountains in the world. Countless river gorges and at least six different mountain ranges carve this region into isolated valleys. Before all the changes brought about after the Chinese revolution of 1949, there were no roads in Tibet that wheeled vehicles could travel. All travel was over winding, dangerous mountain trails–by mule, by foot or by yaks which are hairy cow-like mountain animals. Trade, communications and centralized government were almost impossible to maintain. Most of Tibet is above the tree-line. The air is very thin. Most crops and trees won’t grow there. It was a struggle to grow food and even find fuel for fires.

At the time of the revolution, the population of Tibet was extremely spread out. About two or three million Tibetans lived in an area half the size of the United States–about 1.5 million square miles. Villages, monasteries and nomad encampments were often separated by many days of difficult travel.

Maoist revolutionaries saw there were “Three Great Lacks” in old Tibet: lack of fuel, lack of communications, and lack of people. The revolutionaries analyzed that these “Three Great Lacks” were not mainly caused by the physical conditions, but by the social system. The Maoists said that the “Three Great Lacks” were caused by the “Three Abundances” in Tibetan society: “Abundant poverty, abundant oppression and abundant fear of the supernatural.”

Class Society in Old Tibet
Tibet was a feudal society before the revolutionary changes that started in 1949. There were two main classes: the serfs and the aristocratic serf owners. The people lived like serfs in Europe’s “Dark Ages,” or like African slaves and sharecroppers of the U.S. South.

Tibetan serfs scratched barley harvest from the hard earth with wooden plows and sickles. Goats, sheep and yaks were raised for milk, butter, cheese and meat. The aristocratic and monastery masters owned the people, the land and most of the animals. They forced the serfs to hand over most grain and demanded all kinds of forced labor (called ulag). Among the serfs, both men and women participated in hard labor, including ulag. The scattered nomadic peoples of Tibet’s barren western highlands were also owned by lords and lamas.

The Dalai Lama’s older brother Thubten Jigme Norbu claims that in the lamaist social order, “There is no class system and the mobility from class to class makes any class prejudice impossible.” But the whole existence of this religious order was based on a rigid and brutal class system.

Serfs were treated like despised “inferiors”–the way Black people were treated in the Jim Crow South. Serfs could not use the same seats, vocabulary or eating utensils as serf owners. Even touching one of the master’s belongings could be punished by whipping. The masters and serfs were so distant from each other that in much of Tibet they spoke different languages.

It was the custom for a serf to kneel on all fours so his master could step on his back to mount a horse. Tibet scholar A. Tom Grunfeld describes how one ruling class girl routinely had servants carry her up and down stairs just because she was lazy. Masters often rode on their serfs’ backs across streams.

The only thing worse than a serf in Tibet was a “chattel slave,” who had no right to even grow a few crops for themselves. These slaves were often starved, beaten and worked to death. A master could turn a serf into a slave any time he wanted. Children were routinely bought and sold in Tibet’s capital, Lhasa. About 5 percent of the Tibetan people were counted as chattel slaves. And at least another 10 percent were poor monks who were really “slaves in robes.”

The lamaist system tried to prevent any escape. Runaway slaves couldn’t just set up free farms in the vast empty lands. Former serfs explained to revolutionary writer Anna Louise Strong that before liberation, “You could not live in Tibet without a master. Anyone might pick you up as an outlaw unless you had a legal owner.”

Born Female–Proof of Past Sins?

The Dalai Lama writes, “In Tibet there was no special discrimination against women.” The Dalai Lama’s authorized biographer Robert Hicks argues that Tibetan women were content with their status and “influenced their husbands.” But in Tibet, being born a woman was considered a punishment for “impious” (sinful) behavior in a previous life. The word for “woman” in old Tibet, kiemen, meant “inferior birth.” Women were told to pray, “May I reject a feminine body and be reborn a male one.”

Lamaist superstition associated women with evil and sin. It was said “among ten women you’ll find nine devils.” Anything women touched was considered tainted–so all kinds of taboos were placed on women. Women were forbidden to handle medicine. Han Suyin reports, “No woman was allowed to touch a lama’s belongings, nor could she raise a wall, or ‘the wall will fall.’… A widow was a despicable being, already a devil. No woman was allowed to use iron instruments or touch iron. Religion forbade her to lift her eyes above the knee of a man, as serfs and slaves were not allowed to life the eyes upon the face of the nobles or great lamas.” Monks of the major sects of Tibetan Buddhism rejected sexual intimacy (or even contact) with women, as part of their plan to be holy. Before the revolution, no woman had ever set foot in most monasteries or the palaces of the Dalai Lama.

There are reports of women being burned for giving birth to twins and for practicing a pre-Buddhist traditional religion (called Bon). Twins were considered proof that a woman had mated with an evil spirit. The rituals and folk medicine of Bon were considered “witchcraft.” Like in other feudal societies, upperclass women were sold into arranged marriages. Custom allowed a husband to cut off the tip of his wife’s nose if he discovered she had slept with someone else. The patriarchal practices included polygyny, where a wealthy man could have many wives; and polyandry, where in land-poor noble families one woman was forced to be wife to several brothers.

Among the lower classes, family life was similar to slavery in the U.S. South. (See The Life of a Tibetan Slave.) Serfs could not marry or leave the estate without the master’s permission. Masters transferred serfs from one estate to another at will, breaking up serf families forever. Rape of women serfs was common–under the ulag system, a lord could demand “temporary wives.”

The Three Masters
The Tibetan people called their rulers “the Three Great Masters” because the ruling class of serf owners was organized into three institutions: the lama monasteries possessed 37 percent of the cultivated land and pasture in old Tibet; the secular aristocracy 25 percent; and the remaining 38 percent was in the hands of the government officials appointed by the Dalai Lama’s advisors.

About 2 percent of Tibet’s population was in this upper class, and an additional 3 percent were their agents, overseers, stewards, managers of estates and private armies. The ger-ba, a tiny elite of about 200 families, ruled at the top. Han Suyin writes: “Only 626 people held 93 percent of all land and wealth and 70 percent of all the yaks in Tibet. These 626 included 333 heads of monasteries and religious authorities, and 287 lay authorities (including the nobles of the Tibetan army) and six cabinet ministers.”

Merchants and handicraftsmen also belonged to a lord. A quarter of the population in the capital city of Lhasa survived by begging from religious pilgrims. There was no modern industry or working class. Even matches and nails had to be imported. Before the revolution, no one in Tibet was ever paid wages for their work.

The heart of this system was exploitation. Serfs worked 16- or 18-hour days to enrich their masters–keeping only about a quarter of the food they raised. A.Tom Grunfeld writes: “These estates were extremely lucrative. One former aristocrat noted that a ’small’ estate would typically consist of a few thousand sheep, a thousand yaks, an undetermined number of nomads and two hundred agricultural serfs. The yearly output would consist of over 36,000 kg (80,000 lbs.) of grain, over 1,800 kg (4,000 lbs.) of wool and almost 500 kg (1,200 lbs.) of butter… A government official had ‘unlimited powers of extortion’ and could make a fortune from his powers to extract bribes not to imprison and punish people…. There was also the matter of extracting monies from the peasantry beyond the necessary taxes.”

The ruling serf owners were parasites. One observer, Sir Charles Bell, described a typical official who spent an hour a day at his official duties. Upper class parties lasted for days of eating, gambling and lying around. The aristocratic lamas also never worked. They spent their days chanting, memorizing religious dogma and doing nothing.

The Monasteries: Strongholds of Feudalism
Defenders of old Tibet portray Lamaist Buddhism as the essence of the culture of the people of Tibet. But it was really nothing more or less than the ideology of a specific oppressive social system. The lamaist religion itself is exactly as old as feudal class society. The first Tibetan king, Songsten-gampo, established a unified feudal system in Tibet, around 650 A.D. He married princesses from China and Nepal in order to learn from them the practices used outside Tibet to carry out feudalism. These princesses brought Tantric Buddhism to Tibet, where it was merged with earlier animist beliefs to create a new religion, Lamaism.

This new religion had to be imposed on the people over the next century and a half by the ruling class, using violence. King Trosong Detsen decreed: “He who shows a finger to a monk shall have his finger cut off; he who speaks ill of the monks and the king’s Buddhist policy shall have his lips cut off; he who looks askance at them shall have his eyes put out…”

Between the 1400s and the 1600s, a bloody consolidation of power took place, the abbots of the largest monasteries seized overall power. Because these abbots practiced anti-woman celibacy, their new political system could not operate by hereditary father-to-son succession. So the lamas created a new doctrine for their religion: They announced that they could detect newborn children who were reincarnations of dead ruling lamas. Hundreds of top lamas were declared “Living Buddhas” (Bodhisattvas) who had supposedly ruled others for centuries, switching to new bodies occasionally as old host bodies wore out.

The central symbol of this system, the various men called Dalai Lama, was said to be the early Tibetan nature-god Chenrezig who had simply reappeared in 14 different bodies over the centuries. In fact, only three of the 14 Dalai Lamas actually ruled. Between 1751 and 1950, there was no adult Dalai Lama on the throne in Tibet 77 percent of the time. The most powerful abbots ruled as “regent” advisors who trained, manipulated and even assassinated the child-king Dalai Lamas.

Tibetan monasteries were not holy, compassionate Shangrilas, like in some New Age fantasy. These monasteries were dark fortresses of feudal exploitation–they were armed villages of monks complete with military warehouses and private armies. Pilgrims came to some shrines to pray for a better life. But the main activity of monasteries was robbing the surrounding peasants. The huge idle religious clergy grew little food–feeding them was a big burden on the people.

The largest monasteries housed thousands of monks. Each “parent” monastery created dozens (even hundreds) of small strongholds scattered through the mountain valleys. For example, the huge Drepung monastery housed 7,000 monks and owned 40,000 people on 185 different estates with 300 pastures.

Monasteries also made up countless religious taxes to rob the people–including taxes on haircuts, on windows, on doorsteps, taxes on newborn children or calves, taxes on babies born with double eyelids…and so on. A quarter of Drepung’s income came from interest on money lent to the serf-peasantry. The monasteries also demanded that serfs hand over many young boys to serve as child-monks.

The class relations of Tibet were reproduced inside the monasteries: the majority of monks were slaves and servants to the upper abbots and lived half-starved lives of menial labor, prayer chanting and routine beatings. Upper monks could force poor monks to take their religious exams or perform sexual services. (In the most powerful Tibetan sect, such homosexual sex was considered a sign of holy distance from women.) A small percent of the clergy were nuns.

After liberation, Anna Louise Strong asked a young monk, Lobsang Telé, if monastery life followed Buddhist teachings about compassion. The young lama replied that he heard plenty of talk in the scripture halls about kindness to all living creatures, but that he personally had been whipped at least a thousand times. “If any upper class lama refrains from whipping you,” he told Strong, “that is already very good. I never saw an upper lama give food to any poor lama who was hungry. They treated the laymen who were believers just as badly or even worse.”

These days, the Dalai Lama is “packaged” internationally as a non-materialist holy man. In fact, the Dalai Lama was the biggest serf owner in Tibet. Legally, he owned the whole country and everyone in it. In practice, his family directly controlled 27 manors, 36 pastures, 6,170 field serfs and 102 house slaves.

When he moved from palace to palace, the Dalai Lama rode on a throne chair pulled by dozens of slaves. His troops marched along to “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” a tune learned from their British imperialist trainers. Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama’s bodyguards, all over six-and-a-half feet tall, with padded shoulders and long whips, beat people out of his path. This ritual is described in the Dalai Lama’s autobiography.

The first time he fled to India in 1950, the Dalai Lama’s advisors sent several hundred mule-loads of gold and silver bars ahead to secure his comfort in exile. After the second time he fled, in 1959, Peking Review reported that his family left lots of gold and silver behind, plus 20,331 pieces of jewelry and 14,676 pieces of clothing.

Bitter Poverty, Early Death
The people lived with constant cold and hunger. Serfs endlessly gathered scarce wood for their masters. But their own huts were only heated by small cooking fires of yak dung. Before the revolution there was no electricity in Tibet. The darkness was only lit by flickering yak-butter lamps.
Serfs were often sick from malnutrition. The traditional food of the masses is a mush made from tea, yak butter, and a barley flour called tsampa. Serfs rarely tasted meat. One 1940 study of eastern Tibet says that 38 percent of households never got any tea–and drank only wild herbs or “white tea” (boiled water). Seventy-five percent of the households were forced at times to eat grass. Half of the people couldn’t afford butter–the main source of protein available.

Meanwhile, a major shrine, the Jokka Kang, burned four tons of yak butter offerings daily. It has been estimated that one-third of all the butter produced in Tibet went up in smoke in nearly 3,000 temples, not counting the small alters in each house.

In old Tibet, nothing was known about basic hygiene, sanitation, or the fact that germs caused disease. For ordinary people, there were no outhouses, sewers or toilets. The lamas taught that disease and death were caused by sinful “impiety.” They said that chanting, obedience, paying monks money and swallowing prayer scrolls was the only real protection from disease.

Old Tibet’s superstition, feudal practices and low productive forces caused the people to suffer terribly from disease. Most children died before their first year. Even most Dalai Lamas did not make it to 18 years old and died before their coronations. A third of the population had smallpox. A 1925 smallpox epidemic killed 7,000 in Lhasa. It is not known how many died in the countryside. Leprosy, tuberculosis, goiter, tetanus, blindness and ulcers were very common. Feudal sexual customs spread venereal disease, including in the monasteries. Before the revolution, about 90 percent of the population was infected–causing widespread sterility and death. Later, under the leadership of Mao Tsetung, the revolution was able to greatly reduce these illnesses–but it required intense class struggle against the lamas and their religious superstitions. The monks denounced antibiotics and public health campaigns, saying it was a sin to kill lice or even germs! The monks denounced the People’s Liberation Army for eliminating the large bands of wild, rabies-infested dogs that terrorized people across Tibet. (Still today, one of the “charges” against the Maoist revolution is that it “killed dogs”!)

The Violence of the Lamas
In old Tibet, the upper classes preached mystical Buddhist nonviolence. But, like all ruling classes in history, they practiced reactionary violence to maintain their rule. The lamaist system of government came into being through bloody struggles. The early lamas reportedly assassinated the last Tibetan king, Lang Darma, in the 10th century. Then they fought centuries of civil wars, complete with mutual massacres of whole monasteries. In the 20th century, the 13th Dalai Lama brought in British imperialist trainers to modernize his national army. He even offered some of his troops to help the British fight World War I. These historical facts alone prove that lamaist doctrines of “compassion” and “nonviolence” are hypocrisy.

The former ruling class denies there was class struggle in old Tibet. A typical account by Gyaltsen Gyaltag, a representative of the Dalai Lama in Europe, says: “Prior to 1950, the Tibetans never experienced a famine, and social injustices never led to an uprising of the people.” It is true that there is little written record of class struggle. The reason is that Lamaism prevented any real histories from being written down. Only disputes over religious dogma were recorded.

But the mountains of Tibet were filled with bandit runaways, and each estate had its armed fighters. This alone is proof that constant struggle–sometimes open, sometimes hidden– defined Tibetan society and its power relations. Revolutionary historians have documented uprisings among Tibetan serfs in 1908, 1918, 1931, and the 1940s. In one famous uprising, 150 families of serfs of northern Tibet’s Thridug county rose up in 1918, led by a woman, Hor Lhamo. They killed the county head, under the slogan: “Down with officials! Abolish all ulag forced labor!”

Daily violence in old Tibet was aimed at the masses of people. Each master punished “his” serfs, and organized armed gangs to enforce his rule. Squads of monks brutalized the people. They were called “Iron Bars” because of the big metal rods they carried to batter people.
It was a crime to “step out of your place”–like hunting fish or wild sheep that the lamaist declared were “sacred.” It was even a crime for a serf to appeal his master’s decisions to some other authority. When serfs ran away, the masters’ gangs went to hunt them down. Each estate had its own dungeons and torture chambers. Pepper was forced under the eyelids. Spikes were forced under the fingernails. Serfs had their legs connected by short chains and were released to wander hobbled for the rest of their lives.

Grunfeld writes: “Buddhist belief precludes the taking of life, so that whipping a person to the edge of death and then releasing him to die elsewhere allowed Tibetan officials to justify the death as ‘an act of God.’ Other brutal forms of punishment included the cutting off of hands at the wrists, using red-hot irons to gouge out eyes; hanging by the thumbs; and crippling the offender, sewing him into a bag, and throwing the bag in the river.”

As signs of the lamas’ power, traditional ceremonies used body parts of people who had died: flutes made out of human thigh bones, bowls made out of skulls, drums made from human skin. After the revolution, a rosary was found in the Dalai Lama’s palace made from 108 different skulls. After liberation, serfs widely reported that the lamas engaged in ritual human sacrifice–including burying serf children alive in monastery ground-breaking ceremonies. Former serfs testified that at least 21 people were sacrificed by monks in 1948 in hopes of preventing the victory of the Maoist revolution.

Using Karma to Justify Oppression
The central belief of lamaism is reincarnation and karma. Each living being is said to be inhabited by an immortal soul that has been born and reborn many times. After each death, a soul is supposedly given a new body. According to the dogma of karma, each soul gets the life it deserves: Pious behavior leads to good karma–and with that comes a rise in the social status of the next life. Impious (sinful) behavior leads to bad karma and the next life could be as an insect (or a woman).

In reality, there is no such thing as reincarnation. Dead people do not return in new bodies. But in Tibet, the belief in reincarnation had terrible real consequences. People intrigued by Tibetan mysticism need to understand the social function served by these lamaist beliefs inside Tibet: Lamaist Buddhism was created, imposed and perpetuated to carry out the extreme feudal oppression of the people.

Lamaists today tell the story of an ancient Tibetan king who wanted to close the gap between rich and poor. The king asked a religious scholar why his efforts failed. “The sage is said to have explained to him that the gap between rich and poor cannot be closed by force, since the conditions of present life are always the consequences of actions in earlier lives, and therefore the course of things cannot be changed at will.”

Grunfield writes: “From a purely secular point of view, this doctrine must be seen as one of the most ingenious and pernicious forms of social control ever devised. To the ordinary Tibetan, the acceptance of this doctrine precluded the possibility of ever changing his or her fate in this life. If one were born a slave, so the doctrine of karma taught, it was not the fault of the slaveholder but rather the slaves themselves for having committed some misdeeds in a previous life. In turn, the slaveholder was simply being rewarded for good deeds in a previous life. For the slave to attempt to break the chains that bound him, or her, would be tantamount to a self-condemnation to a rebirth into a life worse than the one already being suffered. This is certainly not the stuff of which revolutions are made…”

Tibet’s feudalist abbot-lamas taught that their top lama was a single divine god-king-being–whose rule and dog-eat-dog system was demanded by the natural workings of the universe. These myths and superstitions teach that there can be no social change, that suffering is justified, and that to end suffering each person must patiently tolerate suffering. This is almost exactly what Europe’s medieval Catholic church taught the people, in order to defend a similar feudal system.

Also like in medieval Europe, Tibet’s feudalists fought to suppress anything that might undermine their “watertight” system. All observers agree that, before the Maoist revolution, there were no magazines, printed books, or non-religious literature of any kind in Tibet. The only Tibetan language newspaper was published in Kalimpong by a converted Christian Tibetan. The source of news of the outside world was travelers and a couple of dozen shortwave radios that were owned only by members of the ruling class.

The masses created folklore, but the written language was reserved for religious dogma and disputes. The masses of people and probably most monks were kept completely illiterate. Education, outside news and experimentation were considered suspect and evil.

Defenders of lamaism act like this religion was the essence of the culture (and even the existence) of the Tibetan people. This is not true. Like all things in society and nature, Lamaist Buddhism had a beginning and will have an end. There was culture and ideology in Tibet before lamaism. Then this feudal culture and religion arose together with feudal exploitation. It was inevitable that lamaist culture would shatter together with those feudal relations.

In fact, when the Maoist revolution arrived in 1950, this system was already rotting from within. Even the Dalai Lama admits that the population of Tibet was declining. It is estimated there were about 10 million Tibetans 1,000 years ago when Buddhism was first introduced–by the time of the Maoist revolution there were only two or three million left. Maoists estimate that the decline had accelerated: the population had been cut in half during the last 150 years.

The lamaist system burdened the people with massive exploitation. It enforced the special burden of supporting a huge, parasitic, non-reproducing clergy of about 200,000–that absorbed 20 percent or more of the region’s young men. The system suppressed the development of productive forces: preventing the use of iron plows, the mining of coal or fuel, the harvesting of fish or game, and medical/sanitary innovation of any kind. Hunger, the sterility caused by venereal disease, and polyandry kept the birthrate low.

The mystical wrapping of lamaism cannot hide that old Tibetan society was a dictatorship of the serf owners over the serfs. There is nothing to romanticize about this society. The serfs and slaves needed revolution.

Tibet Meets the Maoist Revolution
Through the 1930s and ’40s, a revolutionary people’s war arose among the peasants of central China. Under the leadership of the Communist Party and its Chairman Mao Tsetung, the revolution won overall state power in the heavily populated areas of eastern China in 1949. By then, U.S. intrigues were already starting at China’s northern border with Korea, and French imperialists were launching their colonialist invasion of Vietnam along China’s southern border. Maoist revolutionaries were eager to liberate the oppressed everywhere in China, and to drive foreign intriguers from China’s border regions.

But Tibet posed a particular problem: In 1950, this huge region had been almost completely isolated from the revolutionary whirlwind that swept the rest of China. There were almost no Tibetan communists. There was no communist underground among Tibet’s serfs. In fact, the serfs of Tibet had no idea that a revolution was happening elsewhere in their country, or even that such things as “revolutions” were possible.

The grip of the lamaist system and its religion was extremely strong in Tibet. It could not be broken simply by having revolutionary troops of the majority Han nationality march in and “declare” that feudalism was abolished! Mao Tsetung rejected the “commandist” approach of “doing things in the name of the masses.” Maoist revolution relies on the masses.

In Part 2 of this series, we will discuss how Maoist revolution got its foothold in Tibet, and how the revolution grew into great mass storms that blew away the lamaist oppression.

Bringing the Revolution to Tibet
By 1949, Mao’s People’s Liberation Army had defeated all the main reactionary armies in central China. The day of the poor and oppressed had arrived! But the big powers in the world were moving quickly to crush and “contain” this revolution. French troops invaded Vietnam, south of China’s border. By 1950, a massive U.S. invasion force would land in Korea with plans to threaten China itself.

The western mountains and grasslands of China’s border areas are inhabited by dozens of different national groupings, whose cultures are different from China’s majority Han people. One of those regions, Tibet, had been locally ruled as an isolated, “water-tight” kingdom by a class of serf-owners, headed by the monk-abbots of large Lamaist Buddhist monasteries. During the Chinese civil war, Tibet’s ruling class conspired to set up a phony “independent” state that was really under the wing of British colonialism.

Maoist revolutionaries were determined to bring revolution to Tibet–to secure China’s border regions against invasion and to liberate the millions of oppressed Tibetan serfs there. There was no doubt that Mao’s hardened peasant-soldiers could defeat any army of Tibetan feudalists.
But the revolution faced a problem: The huge, sparsely populated region of Tibet had been completely isolated from the revolutionary war sweeping the rest of China. In 1949 there was no force among the Tibetan masses to carry out real liberation. There was yet no rebel underground among Tibet’s serfs. There were almost no Tibetan communists or even Han communists who spoke Tibetan. The masses of Tibetan serfs had never heard that a great revolution had swept the rest of their country. Tibetan serfs had been taught that their current misery and poverty was justified–caused by their own sinfulness in earlier lives.

Mao Tsetung taught a true revolution must rely on the masses–on the needs, wishes, and actions of the oppressed people themselves. Maoism calls this principle the Mass Line. Mao said: “It often happens that objectively the masses need a certain change, but subjectively they are not yet conscious of the need, not yet willing or determined to make the change. In such cases, we should wait patiently. We should not make the change until, through our work, most of the masses have become conscious of the need and are willing and determined to carry it out. Otherwise we shall isolate ourselves from the masses. Unless they are conscious and willing, any kind of work that requires their participation will turn out to be a mere formality and will fail.”

In October 1950 the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) advanced into the grasslands and mountains of southwest China. At Chamdo, they easily defeated an army sent against them by the Tibetan ruling class — and then they stopped. They sent a message to the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.

China’s new revolutionary government offered Tibet’s rulers a deal: Tibet would be reattached to the Chinese republic, but for the time being the regime of Tibetan serf-owners (called the Kashag) could continue to rule as a local government, operating under the leadership of the Central People’s government. The Maoists would not abolish feudal practices, or challenge the Lamaist religion until the people themselves supported such changes. The People’s Liberation Army would safeguard China’s borders from imperialist intervention, and foreign agents would be expelled from Lhasa. About half of the Tibetan population lived in regions of Tsinghai and Chamdo that were not under the political rule of the Kashag. These regions were not covered by the proposal. The Tibetan serf-owners signed this special “17-point agreement” and on October 26, 1951, the People’s Liberation Army peacefully marched into Lhasa.

Both sides knew that struggle would eventually break out. How long could the aristocrats and monasteries continue to enslave “their” serfs–when everyone could now see Han peasants who had liberated themselves from similar conditions using guns and Maoism?

The most powerful serf-owning families started to plan an armed uprising. The Dalai Lama’s brother traveled abroad to cement ties with the CIA, to get arms and request political recognition. Monasteries organized secret conferences and spread wild rumors among the masses: like saying Han revolutionaries fueled their trucks with the blood of stolen Tibetan children. Long mule-trains of U.S. arms started winding their way from India to key Tibetan monasteries. The CIA set up combat training centers for its Tibetan agents, eventually based in the high altitude of Camp Hale, Colorado. CIA planes dropped weapons into Tibet’s eastern Kham region.

Applying Mao’s Mass Line to the Special Conditions of Tibet
Meanwhile, Mao instructed the revolutionary forces to win over the masses for the coming revolution–without provoking an early polarization in which the masses might be against the revolution. Mao wrote: “Delay will not do us much harm; on the contrary, it may be to our advantage. Let them [the lamaist ruling class] go on with their senseless atrocities against the people, while we on our part concentrate on good deeds–production, trade, road-building, medical services and united front work (unity with the majority and patient education) so as to win over the masses.” One red soldier later said, “We were given much detailed instructions as to how to behave.” The Tibetan masses were too poor to spare any grain for the revolutionary troops. So the PLA soldiers often went hungry until their own fields were ready for harvest. They were taught to respect Tibetan cultures and beliefs–even, for now, the intense superstitious fears that dominated Tibetan life. During those first years, the PLA worked as a great construction force building the first roads connecting Tibet with central China. A long string of workcamps stretched thousands of miles through endless mountains and gorges. Alongside these camps, the Han soldiers raised their own food using new collective methods. Serfs from surrounding areas were paid wages for work on the road.

The rulers of old Tibet treated the serfs like “talking animals” and forced them to do endless unpaid labor–so the behavior of these PLA troops was shocking to the Tibetan masses. One serf said, “The Hans worked side by side with us. They did not whip us. For the first time I was treated as a human being.” Another serf described the day a PLA soldier gave him water from the soldier’s own cup, “I could not believe it!” As serfs were trained to repair trucks, they became the first proletarians in the history of Tibet. One runaway said: “We understood it was not the will of the gods, but the cruelty of humans like ourselves, which kept us slaves.” The PLA road camps quickly became magnets for runaway slaves, serfs, and escaped monks. Young serfs working in the camps were asked if they wanted to go to school to help liberate their people. They became the first Tibetan students at Institutes for National Minorities in China’s eastern cities. They learned reading, writing, and accounting “for the agrarian revolution to come”. In this way, the revolution started recruiting activists who would soon lead the people. The first Communist Party member from central Tibet was recruited in the mid-1950s. By October 1957, the Party reported 1,000 Tibetan members, with an additional 2,000 in the Communist Youth League. (See “Recruiting Young Rebels to the Revolution.”) All through Tibet’s eastern rural areas and the valleys around Lhasa, the People’s Liberation Army acted as a huge “seeding machine” of the revolution–just as it had during Mao’s historic Long March of the 1930s.

Any Hint of Change Shook the Water-tight Kingdom
Once the first white-sand road was completed, long caravans of PLA trucks arrived, carrying key goods like tea and matches. The expanded trade and especially the availability of inexpensive tea improved the diet of ordinary Tibetans. By the mid-’50s, the first telephones, telegraphs, radio station and modern printing had been organized. The first newspapers, books and pamphlets appeared, in both Han and Tibetan. After 1955, Tibet’s first real schools were founded. By July 1957 there were 79 elementary schools, with 6,000 students. All this started to improve the life of poor people and infuriated the upper classes, who had always monopolized all trade, book-learning and contact with the outside world.

When revolutionary medical teams started healing people, even monks and the upper classes started showing up at the early clinics. The first coal mine opened in 1958 and the first blast furnace in 1959. This undermined superstitions that condemned innovation and preached that diseases were caused by sinful behavior.

Starting in 1956, increasingly intense armed revolts organized by feudal landowners started in Han-Tibet border areas. These areas were not covered by the 17 points, and the serfs there were being encouraged by the revolutionaries to stop paying land rent to the monasteries and estates. In 1958 a communist leader in Tsinghai wrote, “The great socialist revolution in the pastoral areas has been a very violent class struggle of life and death.” Some forces within the Communist Party urged compromise. They suggested slowing down the land reform and closing down the schools and clinics that were opposed by the lamaists. Teachers and medical teams were withdrawn. But this did not stop the conspiracies of the lamaists. In the late ’50s, the Tibetan ruling class pressed ahead with a full-scale revolt. They believed that the intense struggles breaking out in central China–called the Great Leap Forward–might give them an opening to drive out the PLA. CIA support was increasing, and trained agents were in place.

Serf-Owners’ Revolt Triggers Revolution:
“Historically, all reactionary forces on the verge of extinction invariably conduct a last desperate struggle against the revolutionary forces.”–Mao Tsetung. In March 1959, armed monks and Tibetan soldiers attacked the revolutionary garrison in Lhasa and launched a revolt along the Tibet-India border. One monk later said, “All of us were told that, if we killed a Han, we would become Living Buddhas and have chapels to our name.” Without much support among the masses, the lamaists were soon dug in at some shrines. The main revolt was over within a few days. During the fighting, the Dalai Lama fled into exile. This flight is portrayed by lamaists as a heroic, even mystical event. But it is now well documented that the Dalai Lama was whisked away by a CIA covert operation. The Dalai Lama’s own autobiography admits that his cook and radio operator on that trip were CIA agents. The CIA wanted him outside of Tibet–as a symbol for a contra-style war against the Maoist revolution.

Defeated in their revolt, large sections of the upper clergy and aristocracy followed the Dalai Lama south into India–accompanied by many slave-servants, armed guards and mule-trains of wealth. In all, 13,000 went into exile, among them the most hard-core feudal forces and their supporters. Suddenly, many of Tibet’s Three Masters–the rich lamas, the high government officials, and the secular aristocrats–were gone.
Revolutionary forces mobilized to root out the feudalist conspiracy. And a thousand Tibetan students rushed back from the National Minorities Institutes to help organize the first great wave of revolutionary change in Tibet. The Dalai Lama’s Kashag government had largely supported this counterrevolutionary revolt and was dissolved. New organs of power were created in every region called “Offices to Suppress the Revolt.” The new regional government was called “Preparatory Committee for the Autonomous Region of Tibet” (PCART)–in it, new Tibetan cadres and veteran Han cadres worked together.

This first stage of the revolution was called “the Three Anti’s and the Two Reductions.” It was against the lamaist conspiracy, against forced labor, and against slavery. In the past serfs had paid three-quarters of their harvest to the masters, now the revolution fought to reduce that “land rent” to 20 percent. The other reduction eliminated the massive debts that serfs “owed” to their masters.

This campaign attacked the heart of Tibet’s feudal relations: Forced gulag labor was abolished. The nangzen slaves of the nobles and monasteries were freed. The masses of slave-monks were suddenly allowed to leave the monasteries. Arms caches were cleaned out of the main monasteries, and key conspirators were arrested.

Some people like to talk about “struggle for religious freedom in Tibet”–but throughout Tibetan history, the main struggle around “religious freedom” has been for the freedom not to believe, not to obey the cruel monks and their endless superstitions. The sight of thousands of young monks eagerly getting married and doing manual labor was a powerful blow to superstitious awe.

Women’s liberation got off the ground–under the then-shocking slogan “All men and women are equal!” Revolutionary property changes helped ease old pressures for polygamy. With a large new pool of eligible men, there was no longer the same pressure for women to accept a situation where one man could have many wives. With the redistribution of the land, women were no longer under the same pressure to marry several brothers in one family–a practice that had been used to limit the population who depended on small plots of land.

Without the land rent, the huge parasitic monasteries started to dry up. About half the monks left them and about half the monasteries closed down. In mass meetings, serfs were encouraged to organize Peasant Associations and fight for their interests. Key oppressors were called out, denounced and punished. The debt records of the serf-owners were burned in great bonfires. Women played a particularly active role. They are seen in the photographs of those days leading such meetings and denouncing the oppressor. Soon, the serfs seized the land and livestock. Ex-serfs, former beggars, and ex-slaves each received several acres. Serfs received 200,000 new deeds to the land and herds...

These revolutionary moves took intense and often bloody class struggle. There was all the complexity, heroism, mistakes, advances and setbacks of real-life revolution.The revolutionaries aroused the class hatred of the serfs. The serf-owners countered by accusing revolutionary Tibetans of being foreign collaborators and destroyers of holiness. Sometimes the revolutionary forces had the upper hand–and huge changes happened in the lives of the people. In other places the feudal forces gained the upper hand–and tried to wipe out any challenge. For years, there were pitched battles, raids, and executions by both sides. As Mao Tsetung teaches: “A revolution is not a dinner party…. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another…. Without using the greatest force, the peasants cannot possibly overthrow the deep-rooted authority of the landlords which has lasted for thousands of years.”

The revolutionary army was a powerful force backing the upsurge, and many eager serfs volunteered to join the People’s Liberation Army. But Tibet is a huge land of isolated valleys. Organizers in the widely scattered settlements were largely on their own. They risked everything for the people and were often killed by feudal gangs–just like the early Klan killed freed slaves in the days after the U.S.civil war.

Sharp struggle also broke out in the new Institutes of National Minorities–often along class lines. Some Tibetan students from aristocratic background intended to become a new elite–some resented it when land reform affected their serf-owning families back in Tibet. They also rejected moves toward social equality: demanding to have servants who would make their beds and clean their rooms, and they refused to mingle with fellow students from slave and serf backgrounds. Similar issues divided the new schools in Lhasa itself: aristocrat-students demanded that slave-students carry their “master’s” books. Lamas were sent in to “oversee education” and conduct prayers before and after study sessions. These early struggles prepared the students from serf, slave and beggar classes for the day when such issues would be struggled out throughout Tibet’s society. Even as most land was divided into individual plots, far-sighted experiments tried out socialist, collective forms in the countryside. Mao taught that the road to liberation in the countryside required new forms of cooperation among the people. In Tibet, new “mutual aid teams” shared farm implements and animals, worked the fields together and pooled their labor to dig canals, dam streams, collect fertilizer and build new roads. Through these great storms of struggle, the Maoist revolution created a wide base for itself among the newly freed serfs of Tibet.

In Part 3: The Revolution Within the Revolution
Tibet’s storm of class struggle displeased some powerful forces inside the Chinese Communist Party itself. These forces, called revisionists, opposed Mao’s revolutionary line. These forces were grouped around the party leader Liu Shao-chi, the top general Lin Piao, and Deng Xiaoping (who rules China today.) They had a completely different (and quite capitalist) view of what should be done with Tibet.The revisionists did not see much reason to mobilize the masses to overthrow the feudal landlords. They were “Han chauvinists” who looked down on the masses of Tibetan people–considering them hopelessly backward and superstitious. They thought the Tibetan students in the Institutes of National Minorities should be trained as administrators, not as revolutionary organizers. They thought Tibet should be ruled through the educated upper classes, while relying on military means to keep the region “under control.”

To these revisionists, Maoist class struggle was just “disruption” of their plans for exploiting Tibet. When they looked at Tibet, they saw only a border that needed defending, mineral resources to be exploited, and a potential “breadbasket” that could help feed the rest of China. They thought that developing independent industries or diversified agriculture was “inefficient” and a waste of time. The revisionists imagined that they could reach a long-term arrangement with the Lamaist ruling class–that would be profitable for them both. But at that time, these capitalist-roaders did not have overall power. Mao was determined to lead the masses of people in all-the-way revolution. He fought to have a revolutionary approach carried out in Tibet and other national minority areas.

As early as 1953, Mao wrote in the essay Criticize Han Chauvinism: “In some places the relations between nationalities are far from normal. For Communists this is an intolerable situation. We must go to the root and criticize the Han chauvinist ideas which exist to a serious degree among many Party members and cadres, namely, the reactionary ideas of the landlord class and the bourgeoisie…which are manifested in the relations between nationalities…. In other words, bourgeois ideas dominate the minds of those comrades and people who have had no Marxist education and have not grasped the nationality policy of the Central Committee.”

In 1956 Mao again raised the issue in his famous speech “On The Ten Major Relationships”: “We put the emphasis on opposing Han chauvinism. Local-nationality chauvinism must be opposed too, but generally that is not where our emphasis lies…. All through the ages, the reactionary rulers, chiefly from the Han nationality, sowed feelings of estrangement among our various nationalities and bullied the minority peoples. Even among the working people it is not easy to eliminate the resultant influences in a short time…. The air in the atmosphere, the forests on the earth and the riches under the soil are all important factors needed for the building of socialism, but no material factor can be exploited and utilized without the human factor. We must foster good relations between the Han nationality and the minority nationalities and strengthen the unity of all the nationalities in the common endeavor to build our great socialist motherland.”

The storms of revolution in Tibet after 1959 were a great step forward for Mao’s line. While the serfs were fighting for their land, struggle intensified within the Communist vanguard itself over how far such movements should go. In many places in Tibet there were still rich and poor, even after the land was distributed. Feudal customs and practices of all kinds were still strong. New revolutionary organizations were just getting started. The revolution still had a long way to go. In the early ’60s, revisionist forces called for “five years of consolidation” within Tibet–which to them meant a cooling-out of the struggle. Socialist experiments in Tibet, like the early rural communes and many new factories, were disbanded.The revisionists did not get “five years of consolidation” to suppress the people in Tibet. In 1965 the sharp line struggle came to a head within the Central Committee of the Communist Party itself. Chairman Mao unleashed an unprecedented “revolution within the revolution” called the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

Fertile Soil in Tibet for Mao’s Cultural Revolution
One sun-filled day in August 1966, Mao Tsetung stood in front of a million young Red Guards who had flooded into Peking–and he put on one of their red armbands. Mao Tsetung did something no other head of state in history had done: he called on the masses of people to rise up against the government and the ruling party that he himself headed. “Bombard the Headquarters!” he said. The intense and historic struggle he unleashed was to rage across China for the next ten years–from 1966 until 1976. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was on.

Within a couple days of that great rally, some Red Guards flew into Lhasa, Tibet–where their radical message found an eager audience. The new high school in Tibet had graduated its first senior class in 1964. A core group of youth from serf and slave backgrounds now knew how to read–and had learned basic Maoist principles about revolution.Immediately, students of Lhasa High School and the nearby Tibet Teacher’s Training School formed their own Red Guard organizations. They were in no mood to wait for orders. They debated how to push the revolution forward. And they immediately took action.

Here, in Part 3 of this series, we will tell what we know about the ten years of struggle that followed in Tibet. It is not easy to uncover the truth. These were wild, complex events in a large and isolated region....

Two Lines Clash in Tibet
The Maoist revolutionaries fought powerful forces within the Communist Party who wanted to impose a capitalist road on China, including Tibet. In Part 3, we described the program of these “capitalist-roaders”–whose leaders included Deng Xiaoping. They called themselves “communists” and talked of building a “powerful modern socialist state,” but they really wanted to stop the revolution after abolishing feudalism. Mao Tsetung considered these forces to be bitter enemies of the revolution–he called them “revisionists,” “capitalist roaders” and “phony communists.” Mao saw that their imitation of “efficient” capitalist methods would bring class polarization and capitalist exploitation back to China. The result would be that China would once again be penetrated and dominated by foreign investors and exploiters.

The contrast between Mao’s revolutionary communist line and the revisionists’ capitalist line is very clear on all the issues related to Tibet. Mao’s line called for organizing and relying on the masses of Tibetan people in a continuing revolutionary process. He rejected imposing change on national minority areas before the masses there were able to participate in liberating themselves. Mao repeatedly criticized the traditional “Han chauvinist” prejudices that considered the Tibetan people “backward” and “barbaric.”...
The revisionists had a completely different plan for Tibet: They wanted “efficient” systems for exploiting Tibet’s wealth–so the region could quickly contribute to the “modern” China they envisioned. They considered Tibet’s people backward–and wanted to bring in lots of workers and technicians from eastern China, while the Tibetans were supposed to be little more than efficient grain producers. The revisionists complained that the Maoist revolution’s “socialist new things” broke up their “united front” with elements of the old feudalist class. The revisionists wanted to offer the old feudal rulers in Tibet a permanent slice of power–to use their feudal organizations and ideology as instruments for stabilizing the new revisionist order.

In short, the revisionist line for Tibet was a plan for a new oppressive, militarized order in which the revisionists exploited Tibet’s people in alliance with the old oppressors. This is the program that the revisionists followed after they overthrew Mao’s close supporters and seized overall power after Mao’s death in 1976.

The Bitter Turning Point: The 1976 Revisionist Coup
The complex class struggles of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution ebbed and flowed from 1966 to 1976. During high tides of mass struggle, innovation swept across the region. When the revolutionaries were forced to retrench, the revisionist forces pushed to overthrow the revolutionary changes. In October 1976 the revolutionary forces suffered a decisive setback. Two weeks after the death of Mao Tsetung, army forces loyal to the revisionist line arrested key Maoist leaders in Beijing–including Chiang Ching and Chang Chun-chiao. It was a revisionist coup d’état. Over several years of transition, capitalism was more and more openly imposed on the Chinese people. The arch-revisionist Deng Xiaoping emerged as the national leader of the new state-capitalist ruling class.

The historic defeat was deeply felt in Tibet. Many details of the counterrevolution in Tibet are still not known. However, this much is clear: the capitalist-roaders, who still held many key posts in Tibet, put their program into full effect. Today, the masses of Tibetan peasants are suppressed and exploited by new rich classes closely allied with state functionaries. The revisionists are carrying out a Han chauvinist policy of flooding central Tibet, especially its cities, with Han immigrants. Government troops and police have shot down protesters. Tibet’s resources are being thoughtlessly exploited–serving the capitalist god of profit.(See, for example, “Revisionist Clear-Cutting.”). These policies have nothing to do with Maoism. They have everything to do with the restoration of capitalism in China–which has full support from the U.S. imperialists.

The Purge of Tibet’s Maoist Revolutionaries
When “the sky changed” in revolutionary China, the new revisionist rulers focused on consolidating their rule. They had two immediate needs in Tibet: First, to overthrow and break up the vast revolutionary forces trained and organized under Mao’s line. And second, to unleash all available counterrevolutionary forces under their leadership.

There was a widespread purge of Maoist revolutionaries from the party and government. It is likely that many were jailed or killed. Historian A. Tom Grunfeld documents that the number of Tibetan communists had risen dramatically during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) and then dropped sharply after 1976: In 1973 alone, during the GPCR, the Chinese press reported the recruitment of 11,000 new Tibetan members into the Chinese Communist Party and the Communist Youth League. The year after the coup, the CCP reported having only 4,000 Tibetan party members. A decade later, the Communist Party was reporting it had 40,000 members in Tibet–without describing how many were Tibetan and how many were immigrated Han. This suggests that the whole generation of young Tibetan revolutionaries, overwhelmingly from the poor classes, were driven from power. By 1979 a new party leadership was consolidated–including many revisionist figures who had been discredited during revolutionary periods.

The revisionists stretched their hand to the forces among the Tibetans who could help them beat back the revolutionaries–including the remnants of the die-hard feudal-lamaist classes. Starting in 1977, the revisionists issued sweeping pronouncements restoring “rights” to feudal customs and forces–saying that the revolution’s condemnation and expropriation of all kinds of oppressors and class enemies had been “unjust.” They promised to create great prosperity by distributing collective property.

In April 1977, shortly after the coup, Ngawang Jigme Ngabo stated that the new revisionist government “would welcome the return of the Dalai Lama and his followers who fled to India.” Nagabo is a Tibetan feudal-aristocrat who fled Tibet during the Cultural Revolution and later returned to prominence. This public call was followed by secret negotiations where Deng Xiaoping contacted the Dalai Lama’s older brother, Gyalo Thondup, to discuss a possible return of significant sections of the old feudal ruling class, including the Dalai Lama himself.

On February 25, 1978 the Panchen Lama, one of old Tibet’s greatest exploiters and a “reincarnated Buddha,” was released from prison and given a prominent government post. Thirty-four prominent Tibetans from the CIA-backed 1959 revolt were released from prison. From 1977 on, U.S. officials started making regular trips to the region. The rehabilitation of new and old exploiters set the stage for a sweeping counterrevolution in all aspects of Tibetan life.

The So-called Reforms in Tibet’s Countryside
Countless villages and nomadic settlements lie scattered, far from each other, across Tibet’s vast rural plateau. The struggles and changes there have been largely ignored by lamaist exiles and the Western media–however, this is the heart of Tibet, where the majority of its people live. Once the revisionists consolidated overall state power for themselves, they quickly turned to reversing the revolution in Tibet’s countryside.

The new revisionist rulers abolished socialist farming by stages. First, in 1980 they abolished the People’s Communes and abolished any centralized guidance of the smaller, local Production Teams (which involved 20 to 30 households). Soon they abolished the Production Teams altogether. Reactionaries routinely portray this as “giving the peasants more power over their lives.” But, in the most profound way, this broke up peasant organization into isolated family units. It left the masses powerless again–in the face of capitalist market forces and in the struggle against their emboldened class enemies. Solidarity was declared a thing of the past–aspiring families could again get rich by exploiting their poorer neighbors. Reactionary forces assume the abolition of collective farming was uniformly popular among Tibet’s peasants. These claims are contradicted by the information available. It is revealing, for example, that the revisionists abolished taxes in Tibet’s countryside for ten years at the same time that they instituted their counterrevolutionary “reforms.” They hoped that the bribery of “tax relief” would neutralize less conscious parts of the peasant population. Some peasants probably welcomed the division of collective property–embracing the immediate power this gave the males within each family group and the promise that class enemies could retrieve their old wealth and privilege. At the same time, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution had seeded the countryside with class conscious serf-activists, and there was struggle against the restoration.

Observations from the Yak-Tents of Pala
Two prominent Tibet experts, Professors Melvyn C. Goldstein and Cynthia M. Beall, provided valuable firsthand observations on the current life of Tibet’s nomadic peoples in their 1990 book, Nomads of Western Tibet. Goldstein and Beall spent 16 months between 1986 and 1988 living in Pala, an extremely remote tent-encampment of 300 Tibetan yak-herders. This study does not describe the farmingTibet, where the Maoist revolution sank its deepest roots, and these authors are deeply sympathetic to old Tibetan feudalism. Still, it is useful when Beall and Goldstein, despite their hostility to revolution, document the return of oppression in Tibet’s remote countryside and signs of continuing class struggle.

Goldstein and Beall report that even in remote Pala, nomads had a history of participating in Tibet’s class struggles. In 1959 the herders waged an armed struggle against Bo Argon, a local supporter of the Dalai Lama, because the nomads did not want to join the counterrevolutionary revolt that was organized out of Lhasa. Goldstein and Beall also document how the overwhelming majority of Pala nomads, eager to struggle against local officals, joined the Gyenlo, one of Tibet’s two main Red Guard groups during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. The cultural revolution stirred complex struggles, even among the herders of this most remote region.

Goldstein and Beall then document how the 1976 coup represented a fundamental “change of sky” for Tibet: “The end of the cultural revolution in China proper in 1976 and the destruction of the `Gang of Four’ brought a new group of leaders to the fore in the Chinese Communist Party whose views changed the fate of the Pala nomads. Holding an entirely different economic and cultural philosophy from Mao and the Gang of Four, they viewed the `Cultural Revolution’ as a catastrophe for China and terminated communes, implementing a more market-oriented rural economic system called the `responsibility’ system. Responsibility for production was shifted from the commune to the household.”

The coup installed a revisionist government over this region of Lagyab Lhojang (named after the old feudal estate that once owned all the people and animals there). “The full impact of these changes reached Pala in 1981…. [O]vernight, all the commune’s animals were divided equally among its members. Every nomad–infants one week old, teenagers, adults, the elderly–received the same share of 37 animals: five yak, 25 sheep, and 7 goats. Each household regained complete responsibility over its livestock, managing them according to their own plans and decisions. Pastureland was allocated at the same time to small groups of three to six households living in the same home-base encampments.”

Counter-revolution: Wealth, Poverty, Wage Labor and Malnutrition Return
However, the dividing of wealth was only a first step toward restoring a system of rich and poor in Tibet’s countryside. Goldstein and Beall give examples from the grasslands: “Another striking consequence of China’s post-1981 reform policy is the rapidity and extent to which economic and social differentiation has reemerged in Pala. Although all Pala’s nomads in the old society were subjects of the Panchen Lama, tremendous class differences existed among the subjects. Rich families had huge herds and lived in relative luxury alongside a substantial stratum of herdless laborers, poor nomads, servants and beggars. Implementation of the commune in 1970 removed these disparities since all private ownership of the means of production ended at this time…. The dissolution of the commune in 1981 maintained a rough equality since all nomads in Pala received an equal number of livestock. However, in the ensuing seven years, some herds increased while others declined dramatically. Once again there are both very wealthy and very poor nomads. One household actually has no livestock at all.

“While no households had less than 37 animals per person in 1981, 38 percent had less than 30 in 1988. At the high end of the continuum, the proportion of Pala households with more than 50 animals per person increased from 12 percent in 1981 to 25 percent in 1988. Ten percent of the households had more than 90 animals per person versus none in 1981. As a result of this process of economic differentiation, the richer 16 percent of the population in 1988 owned 33 percent of the animals while the poorer 33 percent of the population owned only 17 percent of the animals. The past seven years of family-based `responsibility’ system has resulted in an increasing concentration of animals in the hands of a minority of newly wealthy households, and the emergence once again of a stratum of poor households with no or few animals. These new poor subsist by working for rich nomads, several of whom now, as in the old society, regularly employ herders, milkers, and servants for long stretches of time.”

In the Maoist socialist period the social surplus in Tibet’s countryside went toward serving the people and supporting the revolution: funding of public works, schools and cultural institutions, and the armed revolutionary forces...Now, however, that surplus is consumed by officials and the handful of new rich exploiters, creating an explosion in luxury purchases, while the masses endure malnutrition again.

Goldstein and Beall document that the “newly wealthy” are, in fact, the same “class enemies” who had exploited their neighbors in the old society. This was not accidental. The revisionist “reforms” were designed to restore an exploitative class system in the countryside and to unleash the old class enemies to support the new government. Large sums of money were given by the new revisionist government to the old class enemies–to help them restore their previous privilege. Goldstein and Beall document that one of Pala’s old exploiters received thousands of Chinese dollars, “a small fortune in Tibet where, by comparison, the annual salary of a university instructor in Lhasa is about 2,500 to 3,000.”

This counterrevolution is not a restoration of the old feudal order. The old aristocrats and monasteries have not been restored at the top of this new class structure. Property is increasingly concentrated in a wealthy stratum of farmers, while profits are often gathered by state-capitalists operating as merchant capital within the local and district governments. Production in Tibet as a whole is being shaped to serve the needs of the larger bureaucratic-capitalist class that now rules China as a whole.

The results of this restoration can be seen in the cities. Wealthy pilgrims have returned to Lhasa, and starving beggars have reappeared too. Journalist Ludmilla Tüting reports seeing Tibetan peasants traveling to Lhasa to sell their children–something common under the old Lamaist rule that had disappeared after the Maoist revolution. Tüting adds that while the poor go hungry, 55,000 tons of yak meat are now being exported from Tibet to Hong Kong every year.

Oppressive Customs Return Under Dictatorship of the Bourgeoisie
Goldstein and Beall tell a story that illuminates some of the issues of today’s class struggle. A “poor class” nomad who was an activist during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution sold a sheep in the late 1980s without thoroughly milking it. This violated an old feudal superstition that said selling a sheep with full udders would bring a curse on the herds of the whole camp. A nomad who had been a wealthy class enemy in the old society attacked the revolutionary nomad–demanding that the old superstitions be obeyed. The revolutionary said unscientific taboos should be rejected–as they had been under Mao. He said this class enemy was trying to exercise reactionary dictatorship over the poor nomads and over revolutionary ideas. There was a fight.Later, the new local government officials ruled that it was wrong to uphold the revolutionary standards of the past. They fined both men for fighting and upheld the right of former class enemies to struggle for reactionary taboos.

Though Goldstein and Beall themselves support the restoration, they document such signs of opposition. They report widespread hatred of local officials. And they even brought back a photograph from one nomad camp that refuses to take down their picture of Mao Tsetung.The stories from Pala are undoubtedly repeated in countless communities scattered across Tibet’s countryside–and across the rest of China too–as hundreds of millions of people have been forced back into a web of oppression by the counterrevolution.

Restoring the Rites
In mid-1977 the revisionist party chairman Hua Guofeng called for a revival of feudal customs in Tibet. Feudal rituals were soon restored at Lhasa’s main Lingkhor and Barkhor shrines. By the late ’80s, the Chinese government said there were over 200 functioning monasteries–with perhaps as many 45,000 monks. At the end of the ’80s, Li Peng (the butcher who ordered the Tiananmen Square massacre) was orchestrating the first officially sponsored “search for a reincarnated Buddha.”

In 1979 the revisionists announced Article 147 of their new legal system–making it a crime to challenge reactionary religious practices in Tibet. Goldstein and Beall say that in Pala, “the bulk of the traditional cultural system was essentially operational again in 1988″–including severe traditional taboos upon women. Wealthy fathers are refusing to allow their children to marry people from “unclean” strata.

The revisionist opening toward Tibet’s Buddhist lamas and aristocrats was a bid for a political alliance within Tibet–to carry out their counterrevolution. The revisionist state-capitalists and the old feudal forces have different class programs on what to restore in the place of socialism. But the revisionists wanted to rally all counterrevolutionary forces under their leadership–especially during the difficult early years of restoration.

The revisionists created a government-controlled clergy in Tibet–to support the spread of conservative religious beliefs and to create a tourist attraction for Westerners. Monasteries are used to restore the traditional fatalist, anti-struggle beliefs in karma–while they are tightly supervised by police and officials to prevent them from emerging as centers of suppressed separatist movements. In some Tibetan monasteries, tourists are offered rentable monk robes so they can pose among monks performing paid rituals for the cameras.

The revisionists, of course, claim that they are reversing an “injustice”: they said that the class struggle the Maoists had led around the power of the lamaist clergy had been an unjust suppression of “Tibetan culture.” Such revisionist self-justification is drenched in hypocrisy. While the revisionists flirt with the clergy, they are also the ones whose policies and ideas represent the most intense and open Han chauvinism (anti-Tibetan prejudices). Almost all visitors to Tibet today report that the revisionist Han functionaries openly mock the masses of Tibetan people as “barbaric,” “lazy” and “backward”– in ways that had been sharply criticized by Mao.

The revisionist approach to Tibetan culture is reflected in educational policy. Right after the coup, the revisionists shut down Tibet’s ten factory-run colleges. The education system was supposed to go “back to standard.” According to Grunfeld, new policies in the late 1970s may have caused the closing of many primary schools in rural areas. In 1988 a group of high-level Tibetans complained that 40 percent of the entire education budget of the Tibetan Autonomous Region was being used to finance schools in eastern Han regionsHan-ized specialists. where a few elite Tibetan students were trained as

The New Wave of Han Immigrants
Starting in 1983 the revisionists launched a policy that represents a true challenge to the survival of Tibetan culture and rights of the Tibetan people. They started a wave of Han immigration into the Tibetan Autonomous Region. (See also “The False Charges of ‘Genocide Under Mao.’”)

Even spokesmen for Tibet’s nationalist movement acknowledge that, under Mao, there was not an effort at Han settlement in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. In the collection Anguish in Tibet, Jamyang Norbu writes, “But with the death of Mao and the fall of `The Gang of Four,’ China’s new leaders have gradually put together a scheme not only to fill Tibet with Chinese immigrants but even to make it pay.” Pro-lamaist writer John Avedon writes: “The current policy began in January 1983…. By September, the Beijing Review reported calls for wide-spread immigration to Tibet; age and home-leave incentives guaranteed, with bonuses at eight- and 20-year increments for all immigrants.”(Utne Reader, March/April 1989) The top revisionist Deng Xiaoping claimed that Tibet needed Han migration because the “region’s population of about two million was inadequate to develop its resources.” Billboards in some eastern Chinese cities read “MIGRATE TO TIBET.”

This immigration has not touched the countryside of the Tibetan plateau, but it has changed the character of most Tibetan cities–making urban Tibetans feel like strangers in their own lands. There is now a Holiday Inn in Tibet–built by the revisionists to accommodate Western tourists with a fascination for Tibetan mysticism.The influx of Han into Tibet’s cities and emergence of many Han as a wealthy stratum of officials and merchants has created a great deal of resentment among Tibetans–giving rise to struggle and a series of justified rebellions since 1987.

Beall and Goldstein tell another story about revolutionary resistance in Tibet’s remote grasslands. One night a nomad came to their tent. He had been a leading Maoist activist during the cultural revolution. And he wanted these foreign visitors to carry a message for him–to the revolutionary center he thought might still exist in Lhasa’s capital. The revolutionary whispered, “You have to tell Lhasa what is going on here.” When Goldstein asked him what he meant, the man repeated himself, “You have to tell what is going on here.” After much prodding, he finally said, “You know, the class enemies! They are rising up again.” Such opposition to the capitalist restoration is persistent enough that many in Pala believe the revolution may emerge again from among the people