RED TIBET’s Chapter One: The Liberated

Robert Stefanicki

Red Tibet

Chapter One: The Liberated


That summer, there was an increasing incidence of deformed animals being born. Then one bright and sunny day, when water began to drip from the golden dragon-shaped gargoyle on the roof of the Jokhang, the greatest temple of them all, Lhasa was seized with alarm. The monks did their best to ward off the evil powers with prayer. The prayer wheels inscribed with mantras kept spinning to fever pitch, masses of juniper branches and dried rhododendron burned in censers the size of brick ovens, and hectolitres of chhaang, or barley beer, flowed through sacrificial bowls. All in vain: a few days later the earth began to shake, plunging entire villages and monasteries into the bowels of hell. In the east a purple glow lit up the sky, a dull rumbling could be heard from all around, and overhead, like the sword of Yama, Lord of Death, a comet hung in the sky. The old people remembered the last time one had appeared, in the year of the Iron Dog,* when war broke out with China.

A few weeks later, on 7 October 1950, when the world’s attention was focused on the war in Korea, the communist army crossed the Drichu River and entered the Land of Snow. Having defeated the nationalists and proclaimed a people’s republic only a year earlier, Mao Zedong was determined to fulfil the old Chinese dream of hegemony. Following the example of his predecessors, the new emperor – though he didn’t put it like that – believed that a mandate from Heaven gave him the right to rule not just the Chinese nation but all the lands that the Middle Kingdom had ever had in its grip, if only for a while. To become powerful again, China must regain control of its lost territories and persuade its former vassals to come back under its wing. As Beijing did not regard historical claims on Tibet as adequate to justify an invasion, it applied two excuses that tallied with communist ideology and the spirit of the age – to liberate the people from the shackles of serfdom, and to free Tibet from imperialist influences.

While the first argument is debatable, the second was nothing but the ploy of a robber who cries thief when caught red-handed. In 1950 there were only six white men in Tibet: a missionary, two British radio operators, two Austrian mountaineers and one Russian, a White Guardsman. The vanquished Chinese republicans, also dubbed “imperialists”, had no influence or hiding place there. The authorities in Lhasa did not maintain diplomatic relations with any foreign countries, so nobody was interested in coming to their aid. Tibet’s 8500 poorly equipped soldiers could not offer effective resistance to the Chinese troops who outnumbered them many times over. Tibet was defenceless.

As I remember what happened half a century ago, I can see storm clouds gathering above Potala Palace, the monumental seat of the Dalai Lamas. The summer began with bad omens this year too. In Amdo a yak calf was born with a pig’s tail, and a shepherd swore that in the month of the horse he had seen a rainbow above a tributary of the Yellow River that had one single colour, which was red. The citizens of Lhasa have been anxiously glancing up at the sky, but rather than a comet, all that has emerged from the clouds are planes full of Chinese officials.

At the foot of Potala Palace, in a spot reserved for reverential bows, a tribune has appeared. Ignoring its existence, as if it were a maya – an illusion obstructing the path to the Truth – the Tibetan women have continued to prostrate themselves fervently, and thus unwittingly paying homage to the message displayed on the stage: FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE LIBERATION OF TIBET. The same slogan features on thousands of coloured banners that have appeared overnight and are hovering above the streets of Lhasa like a plague of locusts. They sacrilegiously imitate the Buddhist prayer flags which, set fluttering by the wind, send the lines inscribed on them to heaven. People are whispering that the Chinese are no longer satisfied with jamming Radio Free Asia, but have the gall to give a propaganda lecture to the gods as well.

I flew to Lhasa from Beijing – three hours in an aeroplane seat, rather than eight hours, as in the past, of toiling across remote terrain in fear of robbers, illness, cold weather and one’s own weaknesses. “God alone knows what we suffered on that journey,” wrote Johann Grueber, one of two Jesuits who were probably the first foreigners to visit the holy city in 1661. In the late eighteenth century Tibet was closed to outsiders. A hundred years ago the famous Swedish explorer Sven Hedin waited months for permission to visit Lhasa, but was not allowed in. Against this background, the restrictions in access to Tibet imposed by the present authorities seem quite mild.

At the airport there’s a welcome committee waiting to meet the plane with singing, dancing, and a jiggling yak on human legs. I am just a chance spectator – the yak has not been laid on for me, but for a delegation from Beijing that arrived on the same flight.

It is 7 July 2001, the day after the Dalai Lama’s sixty-sixth birthday. This is one of the most important Tibetan holidays, known as Trunglha Yarsol, but it was declared illegal in the late 1990s; access to the site of the birthday celebrations on a hill above the Drepung monastery was closed, and the large clay censers were destroyed. The previous year, the People’s Municipal Government in Lhasa had followed up the blow by issuing a decree calling for “the consolidation of achievements in combating attempts to divide the motherland under the guise of illegal Trunglha Yarsol festivities”. Praying to the Dalai Lama was banned, as was praising his merits and virtues, while at the same time those in doubt were assured that the authorities fully guaranteed “normal religious activity”.

The Tibetans who on 6 July, in spite of the ban, were bold enough to go up the hill and light incense in honour of His Holiness were arrested. In 2001 nobody has tried again, which – if you look at it from the right angle – would seem to confirm the results of a survey conducted in March. To the question “What sort of person is the Dalai Lama?”, eighty-six percent of those polled replied that he is a separatist and politician. Only four percent described him as a religious leader, and another four percent said they regarded him as the living Buddha.* The rest refused to answer. Thus it is plain to see, stressed Xinhua, the state information agency, “a violent fall in support for the Dalai Lama in Tibet”. Yet there is still a handful of die-hards, so just in case, this year before the Dalai Lama’s birthday the authorities have issued a reminder of the ban on throwing tsampa, or barley flour, in the air, which the Tibetans have been doing for centuries for good luck. The explanation given is that it is potentially dangerous – someone could have added pepper to the flour, and if it got into somebody’s eyes it would cause a disaster. Another custom, burning juniper branches, has been judged in contravention of the fire safety regulations.

One may, and even must celebrate another anniversary – of the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet. The adoption of the Seventeen Point Agreement is regarded as liberation day, although it was a rather shameful event. Six months after the invasion, towards the end of April 1951, a delegation went to Beijing representing the Tibetan government and the Dalai Lama, who in fear of the Chinese had left Lhasa and was residing close to the Indian border. The delegation was headed by a minister called Ngabo Ngawang Jigme, who was the first overt collaborator among the aristocracy. It was he who a year earlier as governor general of Kham had been forced to surrender the Tibetan troops at Chamdo, which had cleared the way for the communist army to enter Lhasa. After the Dalai Lama’s flight to India, he would be given the ceremonial positions formerly held by the Tibetan leader, including deputy chairman of the National People’s Congress and head of the Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region.

On 28 May 1951 the mission to Beijing headed by Ngabo was authorized solely to negotiate conditions for peace, and signed a document formally sealing Tibet’s fate as a part of China. The Tibetans even had a counterfeit of their government seal foisted on them, not having brought one with them. On their return to Tibet, Ngabo informed the Dalai Lama that the lack of an original seal released him from the need to recognize the treaty, and opened the gate to negotiate other solutions – as if the whole thing were occurring in London, and an appeal could be brought against this procedural error before an international tribunal. Naivety was one of the major sins of the Tibetan elite. The long-standing academic debate on whether the Agreement was signed voluntarily or under coercion is of no significance: it was de facto an act of capitulation after losing a war.

The conclusion of the Agreement is the best proof of the fact that China did not rule Tibet before 1951 – otherwise no treaty would have been necessary. According to its terms, the “local” (from now on) Tibetan government pledged to return to the bosom of “the great family belonging to the motherland – the People’s Republic of China”, to actively support the invasion of the Chinese army, incorporate its own units into it, drive out imperialist aggressors, and above all hand over its foreign and defence policy to “the central government”. For its part Beijing guaranteed Tibet broad autonomy, respect for the local religion and customs, and no change in the previous political system, especially the status and authority of the Dalai Lama. These promises proved to be worth less than the paper they were written on. It is one of many Tibetan paradoxes that the aim of the Dalai Lama, so slandered by Beijing, is to return to the spirit of this “agreement”, of which the Chinese are so proud.

In 2001, before the approaching round-number anniversary of this event, pollsters asked the Tibetan residents of Lhasa about their view of the “most wonderful thing” to have happened in Tibet in the past fifty years. As reported by Beijing Jiefangjun Bao, the daily paper of the General Political Department of the People’s Liberation Army, over ninety percent replied without hesitation: “Breaking the chains of the feudal system of serfdom, which allowed millions of serfs to stand up and become masters of their own fate”. There can never be enough celebration of such a momentous event, so in 2009 the Tibetans were given a new holiday: Serfs Emancipation Day. It would be celebrated on 28 March, because on this particular day in 1959 “about a million Tibetans were liberated from serfdom”. It is not entirely clear why only a million, or when the rest were liberated, since the propaganda says that ninety percent of the inhabitants of the old Tibet were serfs. Anyone ill-disposed towards the people’s authority might also notice that the juxtaposition of the two anniversaries comes out rather awkwardly. On 28 March 1959, a week and a half after the flight of the Dalai Lama to India and the bloody suppression of the uprising in Lhasa, Chinese prime minister Zhou Enlai* announced that the rebellion meant tearing up the Seventeen Point Agreement of 1951 – the same treaty whose signing is being noisily celebrated today as Peaceful Liberation Day. The Tibetans are the only nation to have been liberated twice, when the same document was adopted and then rescinded by the same liberators.

It is striking that the precise date of the celebrations is being kept secret. The first part took place in May, on the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Agreement. Then the festivities were deferred until the completion of a new road, along which the dignitaries would drive past Potala Palace. For several months Beijing Road, Lhasa’s one main thoroughfare, which still had a large number of Tibetan shops, was being dug up; meanwhile, unable to receive any customers because of the rubble piling up outside their doors, the shopkeepers were tearing their hair out. By now the streets have been cleared, of people as well. A thousand Tibetans who don’t have permanent residence permits have been expelled from the city. The Chinese who lack the right documents haven’t had any bother.

I’m watching from my hotel window as Tibetans holding paper flowers board the buses provided for them to go and welcome the delegates arriving for the celebrations. Each district has to supply a set number of spontaneously delighted people. The order to carry out this duty comes down from the top to the lowest ranks of power – the neighbourhood committees and workplaces. Nobody wants trouble, so those who have nothing better to do are off to rejoice.

The tension in the city is palpable. There are more secret agents, soldiers and policemen in the streets than usual, ready at the drop of a hat to crack down on the slightest sign of resistance: a shout, a leaflet or a placard. Special security measures were first introduced a month ago. Operatives with metal detectors have systematically searched the square in front of the Potala Palace. Every day four lorries have driven up to the Jokhang Temple, two with water cannon and two with special troops for suppressing riots. Armed soldiers in helmets and camouflaged uniforms have jumped from the vehicles, run across the square in front of the temple and taken up position in a closed rank outside the local police station. Clearly visible snipers have been deployed on the roofs of Barkhor, Lhasa’s most Tibetan district. Functionaries of the Public Security Bureau have been told to dress in civilian clothing, mix with the crowd in Barkhor and eavesdrop on the conversations of pilgrims. At dawn the secret police went round the hotels, checking all the guests’ IDs.

The citizens have been issued with red flags and appropriate banners, which they were told to hang outside their houses and shops, but with no explanation why. Those who refused were threatened with a fine. The day before the celebrations, several thousand people were shipped into Lhasa to take part in a “festive parade”. Policemen, mainly Tibetan officers in new, black uniforms, have cleared the square in front of the Potala Palace, getting the tourists to leave with polite requests, and their compatriots with sharp kicks. Members of the district committees have helped to erect barriers blocking the streets surrounding the square to all those not in possession of a pass.

The great day is approaching. Since dawn on 17 July monsoon clouds have been drowning central Tibet in rain. The monastery bells have been ringing without being touched by human hand, and the cattle in the pastures, restless for several days now, have been kicking and biting each other. Vice president Hu Jintao flies in to anxious Lhasa from the east; in March 1989, as Party Regional Committee Secretary in Tibet he oversaw the introduction of martial law in Lhasa. Hu has not come empty handed – he is magnanimously presenting the Tibetan nation with a precious National Unity Tripod. It is an urn, five metres high, and weighing three and a half tonnes, inscribed with a dedication from President Jiang Zemin and carvings illustrating the liberation of Tibet and its later development. The deputy chairman of the Beijing delegation, Wang Zhongyu, expresses the hope that this symbol of national unity and prosperity, traditionally awarded to minorities, will encourage the citizens of the region to unite around the party – unfortunately he does not explain how. Tibet received a more legible gift ten years ago, on the fortieth anniversary of the peaceful liberation. It was a statue of two golden yaks, inscribed TREASURE OF THE PLATEAU. Remember, Tibetans, getting rich is commendable. You are all familiar with the famous saying of the former national leader, Deng Xiaoping, the father of Chinese capitalism with a human face and one of the architects of the invasion of Tibet: never mind if it’s black or gold, as long as it brings in a profit.

The statue was placed on the western edge of People’s Park outside the palace of the Dalai Lamas, where it gives off a sort of tension. The two golden yaks, shining like Buddha’s face at Jokhang Temple on a hot day, are not chewing grass like their common cousins. The golden yaks are on the alert. They have placed their rumps together, so the enemy cannot attack them from behind, they’ve raised their horns the way dogs prick up their ears, and they’re scanning the area, on the look-out for something. Imperialist spies? Terrorists sent by the Dalai Lama’s clique? Or could it be better and better news about Tibet’s economy? Lhasa’s satirists have recognized a pair of prominent Tibetans in the cattle. According to one of the jokes, here we have Ragdi, until recently the top Tibetan in the Chinese Communist Party, looking towards Beijing and anxiously asking: “Are the masses still behind us?” To which Pasang, his female equivalent (and in the Tibetan pantheon many of the deities appear in two forms, male and female) replies that it doesn’t matter, as Beijing is sending even more beer to Tibet.

On 19 July thousands of Tibetans selected by their local committees have been made to take their places in the square in front of the Potala Palace at five in the morning, four hours before the start of the ceremony. They haven’t been able to bring anything with them, neither umbrellas, nor food, nor water. They’ve been advised not to drink anything, as it’ll be impossible to leave for the toilet. They’ve been ordered to wear traditional Tibetan clothing, clean and without any patches – appearing in a patched chuba will be regarded as a political felony.

You only have to glance at the assembled crowd to see the fruits of a few decades of democratic reform. In the old Tibet the people sat on the ground; the nobler born sat on mattresses, the height of which depended on the sitter’s rank. Equality is not actually total in the new Tibet, because it can’t be; the leaders speak from a high tribune, and the dignitaries sit on armchairs, but the people no longer have to be afraid of catching lupus. The motherland has presented the Tibetan children with colourful plastic chairs, which in recent years have had as stunning a career in China as plastic bowls in Saharan Africa. So the audience are sitting twenty-five centimetres off the ground, with their legs tucked under them, facing the tribune of honour, which is divided into sectors by professional branch or territory. The nurses are in white, the soldiers are in green, the students are in dark blue, and delegates from the provinces are in folk costumes. The back row is a living banner. The people appointed for this honourable role are holding signs with letters, which form slogans such as: WE THANK THE CHINESE NATION, or THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT. An idea undoubtedly borrowed from next-door North Korea, where this brand of entertainment is taken to a perverse level of perfection. The Koreans love taking part in this sort of performance, not necessarily because they want to show respect for the authority of one Kim or another, but because before the dress rehearsal and the actual event they are fed. I don’t know whether the Tibetans have been offered similar incentives, but they’ll be able to eat their fill this afternoon, once the ceremony is over. But for now hush! Hu Jintao is coming on stage.

“Fifty years ago,” declares the vice president, “the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and Comrade Mao Zedong judged the situation correctly and took a far-sighted, irrevocable, and momentous political decision to liberate Tibet peacefully. The peaceful liberation marks a new era, in which Tibet has thrown off the yoke of imperialist aggression for once and for all, and has pushed its way from darkness into light, from backwardness to progress, from poverty to affluence, from isolation to openness. Fifty years of turmoil and twists of fate reveal one great truth: only under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, only in the bosom of the great Chinese family and only by treading the path of socialism with Chinese features is Tibet able to enjoy affluence and progress today, and be sure of an even better tomorrow.”

His fairly brief speech includes the words “development” twenty-seven times, and “stability” fifteen times – often in the same sentence, for example: “Without racial unity and social stability the economy cannot develop properly.” For in the new Tibet the economy is what religion was in the old one – in other words everything. Hu Jintao reminds us of a fact that everyone knows by now, as it’s mentioned in the papers and on television every single day: “Last year Tibet’s GDP was more than fifty percent higher than in 1959, when the democratic reforms began” (although the statistics also show something that Hu does not point out, which is that China developed faster in the same period). “The Tibet Autonomous Region has built its infrastructure from zero. The income for domestic households in the towns and villages has been constantly rising, most of the nation has emerged from poverty, and some people” – at this point the speaker casts an involuntary eye at the sector for VIPs – “are managing to live in comfort.” From the next bit of the speech we can tell what really causes China pain in Tibet – the indigenous population’s dislike of settlers and the Tibetans’ attachment to religion and the Dalai Lama, which is quite incomprehensible to the Chinese mind. Of course Hu doesn’t say this openly – in fact he says something to the opposite effect, but anyone who has read Orwell knows how to interpret the sort of words that are produced by a system where the Ministry of Plenty causes hunger and poverty, and the Ministry of Love tortures the rebels: “For the past half century solidarity between all the racial groups in Tibet has been systematically increasing and full social stability has been maintained. Freedom of denomination has been unconditionally observed and defended. Members of all racial groups have jointly and successfully frustrated the separatist, inflammatory activities of the Dalai Lama’s clique and of global anti-Chinese forces, guaranteeing stability, national unity and state security for Tibet.”

How different Hu Jintao’s words are from those uttered in May 1980 by the then secretary general of the Chinese Communist Party, Hu Yaobang, who after a visit to Lhasa had the courage to state that Chinese aid had not brought any benefit to Tibet, and ordered the recall of one third of the Chinese stationed there. “It’s time to allow the Tibetans to be masters of their own lives,” said the better Hu, thus prompting high hopes for an improvement in the situation in Tibet. A few years later these hopes evaporated, along with the career of Hu Yaobang himself, whom the hard-liners in Beijing had packed off into retirement. Since then, no Chinese leader has ever presented similar self-criticism.

What are the Tibetans thinking about as they stand in the square, frozen in the same position for almost five hours now? The oldest may be remembering the old celebrations with the Dalai Lama in the starring role. The visit of the ruler from the Forbidden City is celebrated just as flamboyantly, yet the leader from Potala Palace aroused far greater emotion among the spectators, without using any words at all. The openness and loquacity of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, when asked for his views on all manner of topics from globalization to cloning, is a new fashion. Before his flight from Tibet he was, like his former incarnations, treated with the reverence due to a divinity and never made public speeches. Every emergence from the palace – as during the new year celebrations of 4 March 1946, described by the Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer – drove the people into a collective hysteria of the kind prompted on the other side of the world by no one but a man named Elvis:

The great moment had come. The cathedral doors opened, and the young God-King stepped slowly out, supported to right and left by two abbots. The people bowed in awe. According to strict ceremonial they should prostrate themselves, but today there was no room. As he approached they bowed, as a field of corn bends before the wind. No one dared to look up. With measured steps the Dalai Lama began his solemn circuit of the Parkhor. From time to time he stopped before the figures of butter and gazed at them. He was followed by a brilliant retinue of all the high dignitaries and nobles. After them followed the officials in order of precedence. […] Soon the Dalai Lama had completed his tour around the Parkhor and vanished into the Tug Lag Khan. The soldiers marched away to the music of their bands. As if awakened from a hypnotic sleep, the tens of thousands of spectators passed from order into chaos. The transition was overwhelmingly sudden. The crowds broke into shouts and wild gesticulation. A moment ago they were weeping and praying or sunk in ecstatic meditation, and now they are a throng of madmen. The monk-guards begin to function. They are huge fellows with padded shoulders and blackened faces to make them more terrible. They lay about them with their whips, but the crowds press frantically around the statues of butter, which are now in danger of being overturned. Even those who have been bludgeoned come back into the fray. One would think they were possessed by demons. Are they really the same people who just now were bowing humbly before a child?*

Today it is not huge fellows who see to maintaining order, but skinny ones with child-like faces, brought in from the Chinese garrisons, and equipped with more than just whips. But coercive methods won’t be necessary – the crowd is far from a state of ecstasy. Those who are bending their backs and bowing their heads before the vice president like a field of corn are doing it automatically – they’re overcome by sleep. Hu has already left the tribune, and lower ranking officials are coming up to the microphone. In their speeches they focus on attacking the Dalai Lama, as if they had made a bet on how many ways it’s possible to utter the sentence: “The Dalai Lama’s clique is the biggest obstacle to economic development and social progress in Tibet.”

It’s time for an invigorating parade. The Chinese soldiers march along in even ranks, followed by monks in festive headdresses, then delegations of farmers, workers, women, and students. The folk groups start to dance, presenting Tibetan folklore mixed with a dash of Chinese. For China and Tibet are one single family. As the People’s Daily reported the next day, as soon as the parade began, great joy erupted in Potala Square: musical instruments were played, slogans were chanted, and the representatives of every social group expressed their happiness through song and dance. At the sight of a red flag being raised on a mast before the Potala Palace, a former serf called Sonam, set free of his bonds fifty years ago, said: “I never saw such a happy event in the old Tibet”. And Mrs Wang Ronghua, daughter of a Tibetan mother and a Chinese soldier-and-liberator, said: “Today we are all rejoicing.”

I watch the anniversary celebrations on a television screen in the company of some Chinese tourists and two Tibetans – their guide and their driver. Everyone passes lively comment in Chinese on the dignitaries’ speeches and the artists’ performances, evidently regarding it all as excellent entertainment, though perhaps for different reasons.

At about noon the celebrations are over, and the spectators who have gathered around the square, despite having been warned to stay at home in front of their TV sets that day, are watching as the army and police units withdraw. The lorries loaded with water cannon roll by, then vehicles carrying heavy machine guns and coils of barbed wire, followed by the riot control units in full battle gear. The marshals confiscate the film from tourists taking pictures. Apparently somebody saw a large banner being unfurled at dawn from the top of the telecoms building near Potala Square, saying FIFTY YEARS OF BLOOD AND TEARS. The police immediately tore it down. Or maybe it was never there at all? Maybe it’s just a rumour born out of a longing for resistance that doesn’t exist. In any case, the authorities regard the anniversary festivities as a great success. The managers of all Lhasa’s monasteries are given large bonuses and a day off, and the police chiefs are given bonuses and mobile phones.


              A courtyard in a backstreet of old Lhasa. The sleepy tenement house once belonged to an aristocrat, but when the new order came in it was communalized and divided into small apartments. A mouldering, curtained door with a crack in it the width of a hand leads into a tiny flat. Most of the floor space in the small room is occupied by a sofa covered with blankets embroidered by the lady of the house, Pema, a pretty thirty-year-old, whose husband is a tourist guide. She can’t get a job, because she doesn’t speak Chinese. “You go to the hospital,” she tells me, “and you see notices in three versions: a big one in Tibetan, a smaller one in Chinese and the smallest in Pinyin.* So you think you can communicate in your own language there, but no way! It’s the same at offices and the bigger shops.”

Pema’s home may be small, but it’s not poor. In central place, next to a video player and a radio-cassette recorder there’s a large Chinese television set. What do they watch? Not long ago they started up a Tibetan channel, which mainly shows films. Then there’s the radio, but the speakers are educated in China and talk with Chinese accents. “My husband earns enough for us to get by,” admits Pema, “but it doesn’t mean a thing when we have no freedom.”

The word “freedom” comes up in our conversation as often as “development” did in Hu Jintao’s speech, as if Pema wants to make sure a foreign journalist understands that she does not agree with this state of affairs. “Of course we have Chinese friends. Not all the Chinese are bad. But we’re completely different. We talk differently, we look different, we eat different things, and we think differently. For the Tibetans ‘liberation’ is a concept from the sphere of religion, not politics or economics. We live in order to liberate ourselves from ignorance, bad habits and anger. Including anger against the Chinese invaders. Nobody, not the lamas, or any government, can help us with this. Our liberation comes from inside, not outside.”


Translation © by Antonia Lloyd-Jones

* 1910. The names of the years in the Tibetan lunar calendar are a cyclical combination of five elements (wood, fire, earth, iron and water) and twelve animals. The year usually starts in February.

* Huo fu – “living Buddha” is a Chinese mistranslation of the term tulku, meaning the lama incarnate, i.e. a person who has achieved a high enough stage of spiritual development to allow him to be reborn in the world of mankind and to bring help to others.

* Zhou Enlai was prime minister of the People’s Republic of China from 1949 to 1976. Deng Xiaoping was the actual leader of the country from 1978 to 1989.

* Heinrich Harrer, Seven Years in Tibet, translated by Richard Graves, New York 1997, p. 88.

* Chinese written in the Roman alphabet.

error: Content is protected !!