I was lucky enough to go to a dinner with some Tibetan Tibetalogists so I figured I should post my experience here to share with you guys.
Sorry If this is unorganized but I’m just going write anything that I can remember from the dinner:
So I had dinner with the Tibetan Tibetologists and An Caidan (Profesor and Curator of China Tibetology website) with Secretary of State Jason Kenney and his Chief of staff Tenzin Dargyal Khangsar, who some of you might remember from the Tibetan University Student Conference.
So there was 3 Tibetan Tibetologists: a Professor for Religious studies and Social sciences Tsering Gyalpo, a scholar on Tibetan medicine, and then a Lama from Labrang Commemorate Monastery.
The only member of the Tibetologists who would talk about political issues was An Caidan. The other Tibetans were all really quiet during the dinner and at one point Tenzin asked them how they felt towards the Dalai Lama. There was a long moment of silence and all of the Tibetan Tibetologist looked really uncomfortable and some completely looked away. Eventually the only person who answered was An Caidan and he said something along the lines of the Dalai Lama is separatist, etc….
Also I should note that there was two Chinese Embassy officials at the dinner as well. Strangely one was actually a Tibetan from Tibet too, the other was a guy who was like number two or three in terms of power at the Chinese embassy. Also when the Tibetan embassy official was asked if he went to see the Dalai Lama he said no and then I believe he was asked if he wanted to or something like this, which made him uncomfortable like the others.
We actually thought that all the Tibetologist were Tibetan so we thought even An Caidan was Tibetan (He could also speak Tibetan), but we figured out later on he was Han Chinese.
I didn’t like An Caidan at all, he is basically what most Tibetans would stereotype Chinese government officials to be like: stubborn, uncompromising, tries to create the perception that Tibetans basically culturally/linguistically Chinese or some sort of offshoot of Chinese instead of just a unique different people.
Overall though I think it was a really valuable experience for me though, but somewhat disheartening because I hope the majority of Chinese officials are not like him.
Also during the dinner he had the audacity to try and suggest that the Chinese government sources are the truest forms of information you can use to inform yourself on the Tibet situation since he commented to Mr. Kenney that he should stop listening to the lies (from western sources) and find the real truth (from China), since he claimed that they know best about the situation. But Mr. Kenney replied to the lines of something like “Forgive me if I’m somewhat skeptical about information from a government who claims the events of 1989 to be only a minor disturbance”. Its too bad everyone thought he was Tibetan because I think everyone was a little more restrained because of that.
Mr. Caidan also tried to suggest that he knew what the real feelings of the Tibetans in Tibet were and basically he tried to group himself with them. Of course we thought he was Tibetan when he said this so nothing was said.
There was also some false historical things he said about the Tibet Chinese relations that he was saying but I didn’t want to interrupt in between the discussion with him and Tenzin Dargyal and Mr. Kenney. He said something about how there was a structure in Lhasa that had something written on it which showed praise towards the Chinese Emperor, thus showing Tibet’s status under China during those historical times. But I’ve heard that its actually in reference to the Tibetan King/Emperor Songsten Gampo and not the Chinese Emperor. The Chinese government only interprets it to mean the Chinese Emperor.
Also when Tenzin Khangsar tried numerous times to promote that Tibetans in exile and Tibetans in Tibet should work together to try and better themselves in areas where they both are facing similar problems like education, etc… An Caidan was completely opposed, he basically made up excuses for every situation as to why this should not happen and tried to differentiate Tibetans in Tibet and those in exile as completely different.