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'Democracy', deceptive garment of Dalai Lama

November 14, 2007

(Xinhua is the official press agency of the Communist Party and the 
government of China.  Signed article like this is the official 
position of the Chinese government.)

By Zang Yanping (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-11-14 07:17

In order to make the 14th Dalai Lama look good, the Dalai Clique 
extol him, the former chief representative of the feudal serfdom 
under the theocratic socio-political structure, as the 
"representative of democracy", and claim that "democracy has always 
been the Dalai Lama's ideal" and he is "promoting democracy among 
Tibetans in exile".

It is common knowledge that human society evolves through three 
stages - theocracy, monarchy and civil rights. It is simply 
ridiculous and strange that the Dalai Lama, a theocratic symbol, is 
described as a "democracy fighter".

What truly happened in Tibet before 1959 when it was ruled by the 
Dalai Lama who claimed democracy was his ideal? Before 1959, lands 
and people in Tibet were fiefdoms of institutions of Tibetan local 
governments, monasteries and nobles, who sustained the Tibetan feudal 
serfdom as the three major estate-holders. With less than 5 percent 
of Tibet's total population, the three major estate-holders owned 
almost all the arable lands, pastures, forestry, mountains, rivers 
and most livestock. They not only were entitled to the blood-sucking 
exploitation of the serfs but also held a dominating power over them. 
Serfs and slaves, who accounted for 95 percent of the population of 
Tibet, had no basic human rights or freedom. From birth, serfs 
belonged to an estate-holder. Their life, death and marriage were at 
the disposal of serf-owners. Being treated like livestock, serfs 
could be sold, bought, transferred, offered as dowry, given to other 
serf-owners as gifts, used to pay off debts or exchanged for other 

To protect their interests, feudal serf-owners maintained a strict 
social hierarchical system and cruel rule. The Thirteenth Code and 
the Sixteenth Code, which had been used till the end of the 1950s, 
clearly stipulated the life price of different social ranks, ranging 
from those as cheap as a straw rope to those more expensive than 
gold. The local Tibetan governments had courts and prisons, and big 
monasteries and nobles also had their own prisons. Serfs, who dared 
to rebel, were persecuted at the Seigniors' pleasure under the cruel 

They were frequently insulted or beaten up, or even faced brutal 
punishment, such as having their eyes gouged out, ears or tongues 
sliced off, hands or feet chopped off, tendons pulled out or being 
thrown off cliffs or drowned.

The three main estate-holders forced serfs to do corvee, pay rent, 
and exploited them with usury. Serfs had not only to do corvee for 
various institutions of the local governments, officials and army, 
but also work as unpaid labor to grow crops and herd livestock for 
Seigniors, and pay miscellaneous taxes. Some of them also needed to 
pay taxes and do corvee for monasteries.

Statistics showed that taxes collected by the Tibetan local 
governments exceeded 200 categories and corvee served by serfs to the 
three main estate-holders accounted for more than 50 percent of the 
amount of their labor, or even 70 to 80 percent in some places. 
Before democratic reform, the total amount of usury in Tibet was 
twice as much as the output of the serfs.

The three main estate-holders, as rulers of the old Tibet, lived 
mostly in cities and towns like Lhasa. They were bound together by 
common interests. Their members - officials, nobles and upper-ranking 
monks in monasteries - sometimes changed roles to form strong ruling 
cliques or arrange intermarriages between clans of the same social 
ranking to consolidate their alliance.

They also strictly followed the rule that people of high and low 
social ranks should be treated differently, which both ethically and 
in reality reinforced the privilege and interests of the serf-owners. 
The offspring of nobles remained nobles forever, but the serfs, who 
constituted most of Tibet's population, could never extricate 
themselves from the miserable political, economic and social 

The high degree of concentration of power and the freeze in changes 
from one social class to another led to corruption and degeneration 
of the ruling class and stagnancy and decadence of the whole social 

"The integration of politics and religion" was the core of feudal 
serfdom in Tibet. Under such a system, religion was not only a 
spiritual belief, but also a political and economic entity. 
Oppression and exploitation existed in monasteries, which also 
enjoyed feudal privilege. The cultural despotism under the theocratic 
socio-political structure could not provide people with opportunities 
to choose their own religious belief, neither could it let people 
enjoy true religious freedom.

The serfs had no basic human rights and were in utter destitution. 
One-tenth of young men in Tibet entered monasteries and became monks. 
They were not engaged in material production or human reproduction, 
which led to economic depression and population decline in Tibet. 
With spiritual enslavement and promise of happiness in the next life, 
the privileged group of monks and nobles deprived serfs of not only 
their personal freedom and property, but also their spiritual freedom.

The Dalai Lama, then chief representative of the Tibetan feudal 
serfdom and leader of the Tibetan local government, never cared about 
"democracy" or "human rights". As a matter of fact, it was due to the 
fear of democratic reform, that the 14th Dalai Lama and the ruling 
clique launched an armed rebellion in 1959 and went into exile abroad 
after its failure.

After fleeing abroad, the Dalai Clique still maintained the basic 
political framework of the integration of politics and religion. 
According to their so-called "constitution", the Dalai Lama, as a 
religious figure, not only serves as "head of state", but also has 
final say on all key issues of the "government in exile".

One phenomenon is that the 14th Dalai Lama's brothers and sisters 
have successively served key posts in the "government in exile" led 
by the Dalai Lama, taking charge of important departments. Five 
people from the Dalai Lama's family have served as chief bkha' blon 
(high ranking official in the Tibetan local government in the old 
days) or bkha' blon. The Dalai Lama's family and several other 
families control the political, economic, educational and military 
power of the "government in exile" and its key finance channels. It 
seems that they began to follow the examples of the West and hold 
"democratic elections" and adopt "separation of powers" in recent 
years, but in fact, the Dalai Lama is still the ultimate decision 
maker, the "government in exile" is still deeply connected with 
religion and its chief bkha' blon still can only be served by monks. 
No matter how the Dalai Clique colors itself with democratic 
decorations, it is, in fact, still the theocratic political structure 
and a coalition of upper ranking monks and nobles. Does "democracy" 
really exist under the rule of the theocratic political structure and 
an alliance of monks and nobles? Tibet and other parts of the Tibetan 
community in China have long ago realized the separation of politics 
and religion, completed democratic reforms and set up autonomous 
regional governments and are now engaged in socialist democratic 
political construction.

In contrast with such a reality, the empty talk of democracy by the 
Dalai Lama and his international supporters is merely a cheap 
garment, which they use to fool the public.

Xinhua News Agency
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