by Revolution Newspaper
Mar 31st, 2008

The communist revolution led by Mao Tsetung liberated China in 1949. Before this, Tibet (located in the remote, far western part of China) was ruled by a feudal Buddhist theocracy—headed by the Dalai Lama—that brutally exploited and suppressed the people. Most land suitable for farming was owned by high-ranking lamas (Buddhist clerics) and non-Lamaist aristocracy. Fewer than 700 of these top monks and other secular feudal lords controlled 93 percent of the land and wealth.

Most of the people in Tibet's rural areas were serfs who were bonded for life to the top monks and secular aristocracy. The feudal owners dictated what crops the serfs could grow, and then took most of the harvested grain while driving the peasants ever deeper into debt. They demanded unpaid forced labor from the serfs and subjected them to onerous taxes, like taxes on newborn children. Girls were often taken from serf families to serve as servants for the aristocrats, and many boys were forced into monasteries to be trained as monks. (Accounts of pre-1949 Tibet can be found, among other works, in A. Tom Grunfeld, The Making of Modern Tibet, M.E. Sharpe, 1996; Anna Louise Strong, Tibetan Interviews, Peking New World Press, 1929; Michael Parenti, "Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth," July 7, 2003, swans.com)

About five percent of Tibetans were outright slaves (mainly domestic servants) who had no right to grow anything for themselves and who were often worked or beaten to death. The lower-level monks (about a tenth of the population) were also basically slaves, bound to the monasteries and forced to serve the high-ranking lamas.

The feudal lords enforced the social order with their small professional army and armed gangs. Any non-compliance, let alone open resistance, was met with sadistic punishment that included torture and mutilation, such as gouging out of eyes.

The reactionary ideology of Lamaism, the form of Buddhism in Tibet, was key in this whole setup. Central to Lamaism is the belief that humans have a soul that is born and reborn many times (reincarnation), and that a person's position in the world has been predetermined by what he/she did in a previous life (karma). Being born a woman, for example, was considered punishment for sinful behavior in the past life. Such religious untrue myths and superstitions were used by the rulers to justify extreme oppression and to keep the masses of people resigned to their situation.

Pre-liberation Tibet as a whole was a very isolated, backward place. There were no roads that wheeled vehicles could travel on. Most children died before their first birthday. Over 70% of the people were infected with venereal disease and 20% with smallpox.


RLCC Comment: This article gives the other side of the story from an old-line Chinese-socialist, atheist view. It's worth reading. Know both sides. Decide what is in keeping with the New Commandment, and go with that.

Link to source-webpage, obtained via: Alex Constantine's Blacklist, April 1, 2008, 4:55pm


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    Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration.

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