A few days ago was the 21st birthday of the Panchen Lama, Gendün Chökyi Nyima, wherever he is. I was thinking about comments made by Padma Choling, the governor of the Tibet Autonomous Region, a few weeks ago, claiming that the Panchen Lama and his family are living somewhere in Tibet. Padma Choling: “As far as I know, his family and he are now living a very good life in Tibet. He and his family are reluctant to be disturbed. They want to live an ordinary life.” Now, it strains credulity to believe that Gendün Chökyi Nyima or his relatives are simply living quietly somewhere with no special security arrangements; they wouldn’t want him just suddenly slipping out of the country, now would they? You might also notice the slightly evasive tone he starts with, “As far as I know” (granted, the original Chinese, 据我了解, is maybe a little less vague sounding — more like, “To my understanding”); could this be sort of a tell that he slips in inadvertently before a lie?
Archive for April, 2010
Writing at Asia Times Online, Peter Lee has a new piece (“China sees US as hedge for Taiwan, Tibet“) which gives a useful and interesting summary of some upcoming issues in the Tibetan political scene, as well as some other topics related to Sino-American politics. I do want to take issue with one turn of phrase he uses — this may seem like a minor point, but I feel that it is important to clarify: discussing the inevitable question of what sort of political conflict will develop between the Chinese government and the Tibetans when it comes time to find the next Dalai Lama, Lee writes, “The new governor of the Tibetan Autonomous Region declared that designation of the next Dalai Lama would strictly adhere to the state-controlled model dating to the Qing Dynasty: selection by lot from a golden urn under government supervision”.