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Members of Toronto’s Tibetan community are demanding an apology from the TTC after the agency refused to remove subway ads that critics say are racist propaganda sanctioned by the Chinese government.
“These ads basically portray Tibetans as backwards, as undeveloped and dirty,” said Sonam Chokey, national director of Students for a Free Tibet Canada. “Basically they are trying to legitimize the colonization of Tibet.”
Tibet has been under control of the Chinese government since a 1950 army takeover that Tibetans refer to as an invasion. China claims it was an act of liberation.
In response to questions about the ad, the China National Tourism Office issued a short statement to the Star on Monday. It said the poster
“is supposed to show a Tibet, which enjoys both tradition and modernity now. All Canadians are most welcome to visit Tibet.”
Prior to 1950
Judicial mutilation - principally the gouging out of eyes, and the cutting off of hands or feet - was formalized under the Sakya school as part of the 13th century Tibetan legal code, and was used as a legal punishment until being declared illegal in 1913 by a proclamation of the 13th Dalai Lama. In this same reform, the Dalai Lama banned capital punishment, making Tibet one of the first countries to do so (preceding, for instance, Switzerland, Britain, and France). The 14th Dalai Lama's brother Jigme Norbu reports that, along with these reforms, living conditions in jails were improved, with officials being designated to see that these conditions and rules were maintained."
Incidents of mutilation have been recorded in Tibet in the period between the start of the 20th century and the Chinese occupation. Tibetan communist Phuntso Wangye recalled his anger at seeing freshly severed human ears hanging from the gate of the county headquarters in Damshung north of Lhasa in 1945.
Robert W. Ford, one of the few westerners to have been appointed by the Government of Tibet at the time of de facto independent Tibet, spent five years in Tibet, from 1945 to 1950, before his arrest by the invading Chinese army. In his book Wind Between the Worlds: Captured in Tibet, he writes "All over Tibet I had seen men who had been deprived of an arm or a leg for theft (...) Penal amputations were done without antiseptics or sterile dressings". Heinrich Harrer who lived in Tibet at the same time (1944 to 1951) wrote in his book "Return to Tibet" that these treatments had already ceased at that time: "The so-called "chamber of horrors" at the foot of the Potala is also no longer shown. I believe that the Chinese were perfectly well aware that they were conning the tourists with displays of desiccated human arms, flutes made from femurs, and silver-mounted skulls; these objects, they used to maintain, testified to torture, flogging and other atrocities. Even Wangdu was so much under Chinese influence that he confirmed the atrocity stories spread by the Chinese about the Tibetans. He reminded me that in the days of the fifth Dalai Lama (in the eighteenth century), and even under the thirteenth (1900- 33), Tibetans still had their hands and feet chopped off. In reply to my direct question he had to admit that this had ceased to happen during my time in Tibet."
Because Tibetan Buddhism prohibits killing, mutilation and other extremely cruel punishments were widely used in old Tibet. The mutilation of top level Tibetan official Lungshar in 1934 gave an example. Tsepon Lungshar, an official educated in England, introduced reform in the 1920s; after losing a political struggle the reformist was sentenced to be blinded by having his eyeballs pulled out. "The method involved the placement of a smooth, round yak's knucklebone on each of the temples of the prisoner. These were then tied by leather thongs around the head and tightened by turning the thongs with a stick on top of the head until the eyeballs popped out. The mutilation was terribly bungled. Only one eyeball popped out, and eventually the ragyaba had to cut out the other eyeball with a knife. Boiling oil was then poured into the sockets to cauterize the wound."  This was sufficiently unusual that the untouchables (ragyaba) carrying it out had no previous experience of the correct technique and had to rely on instructions heard from their parents. An attempt was made at anesthetizing the alleged criminal with intoxicants before performing the punishment, which unfortunately did not work well.
As late as 1949 the Tibetan government still used mutilation as a form of punishment. In one case involving the killing of an American, six Tibetan border guards were tried and sentenced in Lhasa. "The leader was to have his nose and both ears cut off. The man who fired the first shot was to lose both ears. A third man was to lose one ear, and the others were to get 50 lashes each."
Whipping was legal and common as punishment in Tibet including in the 20th century, also for minor infractions and outside judicial process. Whipping could also have fatal consequences, as in the case of the trader Gyebo Sherpa subjected to the severe corca whipping for selling cigarettes. He died from his wounds 2 days later in the Potala prison. Tashi Tsering, a self-described critic of traditional Tibetan society, records being whipped as a 13-year-old for missing a performance as a dancer in the Dalai Lama's dance troop in 1942, until the skin split and the pain became excruciating.
originally posted by: ipsedixit
Putting this in a Canadian context, it would be as if Ontario invaded Quebec, kicked out the government and elite of Quebec, started to teach English in schools in Quebec and started to adjust the "cultural balance" in innumerable ways, including knocking down a lot of the famous big old churches.