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Chewing the Buddha: Tibet Rising 50 years later

Greg Palast 

Barbie’s not the only thing that’s 50 this year.

This month it will be 50 years Tibetans have been fighting their occupation by China. In May of 1993 I visited the Dalai Lama’s homeland to bring messages from him to his people – he would return.

For Originally for Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

Lhasa, Tibet – China’s secret police are just terrible at keeping themselves secret.

The detective, dressed in her business suit and pumps appropriate to urban Lhasa, did not expect to be trailing my wife and me up the steep hillside to a monastery 15,000 feet up an ice-crusted ridge. Even at 200 yards behind us, I could see her shivering in the thin, frozen air, trying, absurdly, to look like just another hiker on the barren slope.

But then, she really wasn’t trying to hide. Her presence was meant to send a message of fear and intimidation.

I got the point earlier when a photographer we’d helped sneak into Tibet was arrested, her film of protesting Tibetans seized and her camera smashed as she was hustled onto the first plane leaving the country.

When my police shadow looked away, I snapped a photo of the long boxes below me, roofs of the prison complex. It housed more Buddhist monks than any monastery.

At a hermitage carved into the summit rock I found my host sitting cross-legged under an ancient tapestry depicting a monster ready to devour quiet souls.

The holy man had questions for us:

Does Christianity have a god? (Answer: “Sometimes.”)

What is a ”˜President‘?

It was 1993. I told the monk the new President, …more

BARBIE DOLLIE versus DALAI LAMA

Greg Palast 

Barbie’s not the only one celebrating 50 years this month – Tibet’s uprising against their Chinese occupiers began 5o years ago.

I thought I’d share with you one of the weirdest memos I’ve unearthed in my years of investigating corporate maledictions. Passed to me from inside Mattel, the toy company, with an August 12, 1997 time stamp. “TAR” stands for Tibet Autonomous Region.

– Greg Palast

Proprietary Content Confidential – Mktng only

To: Jongyol Rimpoche, JRimp@BarbieMttl.cn.TAR
From: BRab@M.IntlMkt.MttlCrp.com

Barbie Doll v Dalai Lama

Barbie's 50

JR,
Marketing greenlights your conclusion: Barbie can’t play Tibet until she replaces current culture idol. Research Div did tab on competitor; looks like he’s history:

Barbie: Over 2,000 outfits
The Dalai Lama: One outfit (orange bathrobe!)

Barbie: Sixteen hair-dos, including “growing ponytail”
The Dalai Lama: Shaved head (Yuck!)

Barbie: Two dozen pre-programmed and market-tested phrases. Changed annually.
The Dalai Lama: “Om Mane Padme Om” (“Hail the Fire in the Lotus” — whatever that means.) Never changes.

Barbie: Worshiped by 600 million Barbie owners.

The Dalai Lama: Worshipped by only 6 million Tibetans.

Barbie: Creator of cultural revolution.
The Dalai Lama: Victim of cultural revolution.

Barbie: Accessories- Shoes, handbags, battery-operated cars — you name it!
The Dalai Lama: Accessories- ZEE-RO! …more

Chewing the Buddha ”“ Bush at the Olympics

Greg Palast for  Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

Lhasa, Tibet – China’s secret police are just terrible at keeping themselves secret.

The detective, dressed in her business suit and pumps appropriate to urban Lhasa, did not expect to be trailing my wife and me up the steep hillside to a monastery 15,000 feet up an ice-crusted ridge. Even at 200 yards behind us, I could see her shivering in the thin, frozen air, trying, absurdly, to look like just another hiker on the barren slope.

But then, she really wasn’t trying to hide. Her presence was meant to send a message of fear and intimidation.

I got the point earlier when a photographer we’d helped sneak into Tibet was arrested, her film of protesting Tibetans seized and her camera smashed as she was hustled onto the first plane leaving the country.

When my police shadow looked away, I snapped a photo of the long boxes below me, roofs of the prison complex. It housed more Buddhist monks than any monastery.

At a hermitage carved into the summit rock I found my host sitting cross-legged under an ancient tapestry depicting a monster ready to devour quiet souls.

The holy man had questions for us:

Does Christianity have a god? (Answer: “Sometimes.”)

What is a ”˜President‘?

It was 1993. I told the monk the new President, …more

Tibet: Olympic Torch-ured

Greg Palast 

April 9th, 2008

China has barred the press from Tibet for years except on gun-guided tours. In 1993, I entered Tibet as a “tourist.” The photographer I snuck in with me was quickly discovered, her camera smashed, film destroyed.

DSC_0590

Poor Tibetans with prayer wheels. “Rioters” and “splitists.”

By time the police searched our room, the documents my wife and I carried from the Dalai Lama’s secretariat were safely in the hands of the persons whose names we made certain not to know.

These photos made it out. These are the “rioters” and “splitists,” as the Chinese call them, including this monk, who’d just gotten out of prison after 27 years. After we left his mountain hermitage (followed by police), he raised the flag of the rising sun, symbol of Free Tibet ”“ and was sent back to prison

DSC_0582

Tibetan monk ”“ before his return to prison.

This is the face of the occupied living under the iron fist of Chairman Rob ”“ Rob Walton, Chairman of Wal-Mart, whose company controls 700 factories in China, none in the US. And that’s what it’s all about: don’t follow the torch. Follow the money.

DSC_0565

Chinese prison above Lhasa, holding more monks than any monastery.

DSC_0575
Buddha “executed” by bullet from Chinese troops.

Photos by Greg Palast

www.GregPalast.com

 

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