4. HAS “CULTURAL GENOCIDE” - OR MORE LINGUISTICALLY CORRECT -- i.e., THE EROSION AND DESTRUCTION OF TIBETAN CULTURE HAPPENED and/or IS ON-GOING?
YES and NO.
YES - during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, under the “Smash the Four Olds” campaign, religious institutions and their statuary along with traditional arts and customs were destroyed throughout all of China.
NO - since the 1980s, Buddhism and other religions were encouraged to flourish although subject to government control. Despite that control, I could see the obvious resurgence of Buddhist temples everywhere in Tibet and the rest of China. It is undisputed that the Chinese government have injected millions of dollars in rebuilding Tibetan Buddhist temples and supporting their functioning.
NO - traditional Tibetan culture is promoted nationally. In the Fall of 2008, I read an article in the English language Shanghai Daily News announcing a major conference on traditional Tibetan medicine in Shanghai. Announcements of Tibetan conferences, festivals, and “nights” are somewhat routine throughout China. There doesn’t seem to be any attempt to stifle Tibetan culture. In actuality, there are many programs to promote and sustain Tibetan culture throughout China.
YES AGAIN!! -- Tibetan culture - today, to the extent that it is being eroded or “destroyed,” seems to be by modernization - of global pop culture, technology, fashion, and a chance to get off the farm or grassy plateau and into a city lifestyle. Even nomads have solar panels over their yurt-like tents, cell phones, and boom boxes blaring as they sit around while their yaks graze. They have added trucks and tractors to their traditional horses.
NO AGAIN!! - During my 10 days in Tibet, Tibetans everywhere spoke Tibetan openly, dressed in Tibetan style, drank Yak butter tea everywhere, and cooked and ate Tibetan food. Tibetans have informed me that schools are initially taught in Tibetan. It's in later grades, that Chinese assumes prominence as the main language of instruction. In upper middle school, English also becomes a mandatory language.
NO AGAIN!! All the hotels and the restaurants my guide took us to were Tibetan owned-and- operated businesses. They ran things the way they wanted to. In one huge Tibetan art goods store in the Bharkor, the female Tibetan owner was loudly and rather animatedly instructing her male Han employee on some merchandise she wanted moved from one display to another. She wasn't rude, just being a boss, and he complied readily. He knew who was Boss after all, all in a day's work.
"Can we talk?..."
an investigation into how we know what we know;
of distinguishing truth & fact
from deep seated beliefs and reflexive opinion.