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Getting the Words Right, in Pictures: Toronto Transit Tibetan Trouble

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posted on Dec, 20 2016 @ 08:45 PM
Tibetans in Toronto are objecting to the placement of a poster on the subway system, advertising Tibet as a tourist destination.

The Toronto Star tells us that the Tibetan Community is outraged by this portrait, which has been called "racist" by them.

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.”

The Star, in its usual helpful way, informs the reader that;

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.

Well and good. It reminds one of Cuba. One group kicked out another group and the two groups don't like each other. Only, in the Tibet case the winning group was from another part of the world and spoke a different language.

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.

Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. In Ontario we would call it a "liberation". In Quebec they would call it an invasion. The Star is such a fun read.

The Chinese National Tourism Office responded with a rather bland comment on the poster fuss.

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.”

This is the poster:

I don't want to be overly fussy, since I'm not Tibetan, but surely the "gestalt" of this poster is the replacement of a dim, colorless past with modern office blocks, parking space and leafy, landscaped walkways.

The two photos purport to be taken from near identical positions and clearly show the replacement of one kind of culture with another.

In fairness to the Chinese National Tourism Office, they have done some beautiful tourist posters for Tibet. There are several of them at the following link:

I would go further than the representatives of the Tibetan Community in Toronto, who are objecting to the character and quality of the representation of the pre-Chinese invasion culture of Tibet. You see, to me the message of the poster is,
"We have wiped out the old culture of Tibet. Then you saw it, now you don't."

I realize that the actual situation is more nuanced. It might be more correct to say that the Chinese are attempting to turn a living culture into a museum culture and tourist attraction.

To me, this poster is what one would expect of the Nazis if they issued a tourist poster for the village of Lidice in the Czech Republic, which they razed to the ground, executing many and shipping others to concentration camps.

A wonderful "before and after" view:

The Chinese Government has made nice posters for Tibet, as I said, but this one has unpleasant, perhaps unintended, resonances and should not be posted on the Toronto Transit Commission.

If it were Lidice, it would not be posted. This is a sensitivity issue and the TTC needs to respond to the sensibilities of local Tibetans in this matter.

edit on 20-12-2016 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 20 2016 @ 08:51 PM
a reply to: ipsedixit

its sort of like Columbus slaughtering native Americans and forcing them out of their beloved land to create the earth degrading America we know today, then making a holiday in memory of him.

no really I found that poster utterly distasteful and actually think this has to be a joke of some sort
edit on 20-12-2016 by veracity because: s

posted on Dec, 20 2016 @ 08:57 PM
a reply to: ipsedixit

You seem to have missed the main point even if it not clearly stated. China invaded Tibet. killed thousands, attempted to destroy an entire culture and now you can go visit the remnants of the glorious adventure. How nice and quaint.

posted on Dec, 20 2016 @ 09:01 PM
a reply to: Aliensun

Good point. What's going on in Tibet is certainly not a simple administrative reorganization. This has been and continues to be a bloody business.

posted on Dec, 20 2016 @ 09:06 PM
a reply to: ipsedixit

too soon, there are probably tibetan refugees in Toronto looking at this who have had their families murdered.

posted on Dec, 20 2016 @ 09:21 PM
a reply to: ipsedixit

I'd take the Tibetans over the Chinese any day of the week.

posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 07:42 AM
It didn't take reading past the first line of the poster in the OP to see why Tibetans would be upset ...

Welcome to Tibet, "China"

It just goes downhill from there. I'm pretty sure Tibetans would much rather have that poster read...

Welcome to Tibet

So on this premise I would disagree a little bit with the OP's analogy about Quebec (having seen 1st hand some of their opinions there).

I'm guessing the Quebecois take great offence at a sign reading...

Welcome to Quebec, "Canada"

and would much rather have the sign read...

Welcome to Quebec

posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 07:46 AM
a reply to: ipsedixit

China is the biggest rapist on the planet these days. The environmental and social horror of the majority of Chinese people is comparable to the plight of rural and urban poor in America. Their middle class is huge, and growing however. Their mentality is similar to America's in the 70's. Their wealth and development seem to know no bounds, and likewise the hubris of the Chinese themselves. They are the same clueless, snobby, entitled colonialists the British and Americans were in the 19th and 20th century.

America, wake up. We are still a colony. China has enough of our cash to buy us out ,if we were a liquifiable body of assets.

Anyway I veer off topic. More power to those Tibetans and more courage. More than one hundred Tibetans have self-immolated -- doused themselvse with gasoline and ignited -- in Eastern Tibet this year. This is reported in the Tibetan language press online only, not in China or any MSM in North America that I am aware of. This is the info I get from my Tibetan contacts here.


THere I said it again. This is the real news about how f***ed up China's policy towards Tibet has been.
edit on 21-12-2016 by Namdru because: Forgot to mention Tibetans burning themselves to a crisp to protest Chinese policy

posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 08:31 AM
a reply to: Namdru

Here is an article of why Tibetans self immolate, very sad

"3. Self-immolators don't primarily act out of desperation.

Another quite popular belief (which Tibet's exiled political leaders have declared) is that self-immolation by Tibetans is a desperate choice made in the face of an intolerable situation. This factor does exist, but not in the case of most self-immolators, so it shouldn't be regarded as the main explanation for the act of self-immolation."

posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 03:22 PM
a reply to: ipsedixit

Now I know China is no angel but before the Chinese took over Tibet, it was a Theocratic feudal state that is almost exactly like ISIS. Under this feudal state, many people were tortured.

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.[62] 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).[63] 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."[64][65]

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.[66]

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".[67] 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."[68]

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." [69][70] 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.[70]

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."[71]

Whipping was legal and common as punishment[72] 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.[73] 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.[74]

It was said after the CCP took over Tibet and abolish the feudal system, life somewhat improve in Tibet.
edit on 12/22/2016 by starwarsisreal because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 03:47 PM
a reply to: starwarsisreal

The main ideology of Tibet before it was attacked by china was Buddhism, the most peaceful and truthful way of living possible in the world.

Anyone found still studying buddhism or even speaking of it is now murdered.

Your ISIS analogy of Tibet is made up Chinese propaganda.

posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 07:26 PM
a reply to: veracity

Why don't you say that to the innocent people that got murdered by Fundamentalist Buddhist death squads in South East Asia.

Fundamental Islam, Buddhism, Christianity or any other religion is considered dangerous.

posted on Dec, 22 2016 @ 07:32 PM
a reply to: starwarsisreal

I'm sorry, i do not know what you are speaking of, buddhism is not a religion if that helps.

posted on Dec, 30 2016 @ 02:15 AM
a reply to: starwarsisreal

Tibet was an isolated country still living in "medieval times", right up until the Chinese invasion. Much of what was done there that is deplorable, was commonly done in all medieval societies. Harsh physical mutilations and similar punishments were typical in medieval Europe, and I dare say, all over the world. For some reason it is very popular among people who defend the Chinese invasion of Tibet, to single out Tibet as an example of singular and unusual brutality, as administered by the Tibetans with the Dali Lama at the pinnacle of the society, but brutality was commonplace in medieval societies all over the world.

If you want to see an example of brutal and sadistic punishment handed out by Chinese authorities, in relatively modern times, so modern in fact that photographs exist of it, just google "death of a thousand cuts", and you will see a particularly brutal, sadistic and typically Chinese method of execution.

By modern standards such brutality is indefensible wherever it takes place.

When the Chinese took over Tibet, roads were built, some industrial development occurred and Chinese settlers were introduced. Large numbers of Tibetans fled into exile, uprisings occurred, monasteries were destroyed, religious Tibetans of all classes were imprisoned (and in some cases tortured and murdered) and expressions of devotion to the Dalai Lama were prohibited.

I wouldn't say that life "improved" under the Chinese communist administration because there is more to life than an increase in the material standards of life, but I think it would be fair to say that material standards of living did improve for some people and that infrastructure in parts of the country has improved greatly.
edit on 30-12-2016 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 30 2016 @ 02:20 AM
On the subject of Buddhism generally, I can tell you, based on 40 years of Buddhist practice, that there is almost certainly nothing that goes on in other "religions" that does not take place (overtly or covertly) in Buddhism, including regarding and practicing Buddhism, as a "religion".

None of the blame for that, of course, can be lain at the feet of the Buddha.
edit on 30-12-2016 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 30 2016 @ 09:21 AM

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.

Interesting analogy. I was in grade school and high school in Montreal. My family moved to the USA in 1971. I attended only English schools. Not long after we left, Quebec banned English and made the province French. They basically forced out the English that didn't want to become French.

Of course this was mostly peaceful and doesn't compare to the fate of Tibetans. I still love Canada and Quebec.

posted on Dec, 30 2016 @ 08:21 PM
Y'all will have to come up on a holiday. Quebec is beautiful. One of the most European style ambiances in North America, in Quebec City and Montreal, maybe rivaled only by new Orleans. I'm something of a francophile, having traveled extensively in France, and I don't mind the assertion of French culture in Quebec at all.

There has been friction, particularly in the early 1970s, some of it very serious and tragic, but I think Quebec and the country as a whole is in a much better place now.

Thanks for the input.

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