"By figuratively sticking her foot in America’s front door and keeping it wedged there long enough for an anonymous band of war-tossed Mongols to navigate around daunting racial barriers, Countess Tolstoy not only became the architect of the Mongol “invasion” of New Jersey and the country’s first ethnic Mongolian community, she also served as the midwife for the birth of Tibetan Buddhism in America." -- tells the amazing story of how a small band of Kalmyk Mongols (all WWII Wehrmacht veterans) established Tibetan Buddhism in America
, as told by David Urubshurow, who was one of them. Featuring Leo Tolstoy's youngest daughter, Cold War CIA and Ivy League intrigues, how the Dalai Lama came to America and why this was only possible under president Carter and more.
With 53 self-immolations since 2009, these Chinese villagers might bring to mind the self-immolation by Tibetans
, but the Chinese villagers are highlighting a different issue. The rapid urbanization of China is having a number of impacts across the country, with rural communities being demolished to build new urban centers. While many people are moving from rural farms to cities to find more lucrative jobs, some are fighting back to keep their rural communities intact, or to retain their family farms. When other options are gone, desperate villagers turn to self-immolation
(NPR). [more inside]
Over a thousand monks and laymen are revered in Tibetan Buddhism as the incarnations of past teachers who convey enlightenment to their followers from one lifetime to the next. Some of the most respected are known by the honorific "rinpoche." For eight centuries, rinpoches were traditionally identified by other monks and then locked inside monasteries ringed by mountains, far from worldly distractions. Their reincarnation lineages were easily tracked across successive lives. Then the Chinese Red Army invaded Tibet in 1950 and drove the religion's adherents into exile. Now, the younger rinpoches of the Tibetan diaspora are being exposed to all of the twenty-first century’s dazzling temptations. So, even as Tibetan Buddhism is gaining more followers around the world, an increasing number of rinpoches are abandoning their monastic vows. Reincarnation in Exile. [more inside]
A colorful mural
adorns Chao Tsung-song / Tibet House in Corvallis
, Oregon. Commissioned by Corvallis businessman, David Lin, the 100 foot long mural depicts at one end, a cheerful Taiwanese countryside scene, and at the other, police beating Tibetan protesters
and a Tibetan monk
in the process of self-immolation. The Chinese government has requested that the mural be destroyed. Mr. Lin and Corvallis city mayor, Julie Manning, say, "no
The Dalai Lama was prevented from going to South Africa for Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday by visa problems. So they used Google+ to "Hangout" instead.
Tibetans May Be Fastest Evolutionary Adapters Ever.
"A group of scientists in China, Denmark and the U.S. recently documented
the fastest genetic change observed in humans. According to their findings, Tibetan adaption to high altitude might have taken just 3,000 years. That's a flash, in terms of evolutionary time, but it's one that's in dispute
"is a blog that examines topics in Asia through the perspectives of interesting people interviewed by a group of bloggers in Mainland China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and more." Meet Gao Qingrong and family
, who along with seven other households are part of an organic farm co-op in Anlong Village, Sichuan
. Or there's the tale of how one of the bloggers met Jun Jun, a male prostitute in Beijing
; an encounter with Silang Laji, a road maintenance worker in Kham
, a Tibetan region of China; and Gege, an enterprising journalist in Chengdu
"On the evening of July 5th, several hundred Uighur youths went on a bloody rampage
[in Urumqi, Xinjiang] following a peaceful demonstration over a separate incident of ethnic violence at a Guangdong toy factory. . . . In the days that followed, bands of roving Han vigilantes armed with kitchen knives, hammers, metal pipes and other improvised weapons sought to mete out revenge in the Uighur suburbs of the city. . . . Caught in-between these increasingly polarized and agitated ethnic communities is the Chinese state, which, rather than orchestrating the brutal oppression of the non-Han minorities, finds itself increasingly powerless to stop the spiralling circle of ethnic hatred which its policies helped to foster in the first place." [more inside]
Tracking GhostNet: Investigating a Cyber Espionage Network.
"A vast electronic spying operation
has infiltrated computers and has stolen documents from hundreds of government and private offices around the world
, including those of the Dalai Lama
, Canadian researchers have concluded. In a report
to be issued this weekend, the researchers
said that the system was being controlled from computers based almost exclusively in China, but that they could not say conclusively that the Chinese government was involved." [more inside]
West treats East.
"To help traumatized Tibetan monks, doctors in Boston
turn to cross-cultural medicine." [Via]
during the Olympic Games. Jonathan Barnbrook and Pedro Inoue raise awareness through this new site. [Via Computer Love
China's secret plot to tame Tibet.
"Internal Communist party documents have revealed that China is planning a programme of harsh political repression in Tibet despite a public show of moderation to win over world opinion before the Olympic Games next month." Meanwhile, the military has sealed off
several monasteries in Lhasa
, keeping over 1,000 monks locked up. Another 1,000 monks have mysteriously disappeared
, and may have been sent to prisons in a neighbouring province
to keep them silent through the Olympics.
Beijing 2008: China's Olympian Human Rights Challenges.
This website was set up by Human Rights Watch
to monitor human rights issues in China during the run-up to the Olympics. "This is a historic opportunity for China to show it has the confidence to make tangible and sustainable progress in ensuring basic human rights for its 1.3 billion citizens." [more inside]
A Lone Tibetan Voice, Intent on Speaking Out. Woeser
(previously mentioned here
) is a Tibetan writer and poet living under house arrest in Beijing, from where she blogs about the recent unrest in Tibet
(there are English translations of her posts at China Digital Times
). Last year she was awarded
the Norwegian Authors Union
Freedom of Expression Prize, but she was not allowed to travel to Oslo to collect the prize.
The "sacred flame
" winds its way
towards Beijing, creating new flashpoints
like a car bumper scraping sparks from the pavement.
The chinese public's anger at CNN
now has a wildly popular theme song
. "You can't turn lies into the truth by repeating them a thousand times"
and an American backlash
are both growing. Where is all this leading to? And even if we can't understand how China sees Tibet
, or know whether the Shanghai Princesses
will really give up their Chanel
, can we at least assure the Chinese that we don't like Jack Cafferty either
is a documentary by Richard Martini
consisting of interviews with Tibetan refugees who have recently fled to Dharamsala, India. It's on YouTube in 5 parts: part 2
, part 3
, part 4
, part 5
China ready to hold talks with the Dalai Lama.
With nearly 1,000 jailed in Lhasa, the Dalai Lama has offered to resign
China has blocked
the media, and reporters have been taken in for questioning
China is opposed
to the US speaker's Dharamsala visit.
Meanwhile France raises the idea of boycotting
the Olympics opening ceremony.
Existing thread arising from Björk's protest.
Björk, in Shanghai, on Tibet: Declare Independence
! [YouTube] [more inside]
of China and Tibet. Thomas H. Hahn
is a Cornell professor and an excellent photographer. Themed collections include Chinese modern art, urbanisation and architecture, sacred mountains, religion, and historical photographs.
China Praises Its Progress Toward Olympics.
With one year to go
before the 2008 Olympics
, China still has many challenges ahead, like dealing with Beijing's terrible air pollution
. There is still much criticism over China's record on human rights
and freedom of the press
, and some protests
. But perhaps the most embarrassing public relations setback is that one of the official mascots
) the Tibetan Antelope
, has defected from China's Olympic team
and gone underground to campaign
for a free Tibet
. [Some links via BB and MoFi.]
In the 1920s Joseph Rock
, an Austrian-born botanist
went to live in Lijiang, in Yunnan province. During expeditions over the next three decades he photographed shamans
, petty kings
, astounding scenery and flora and fauna across much of southwest China. He also studied the language and culture
of the Nakhi
whose homeleand centred around Lijiang. A contemporary blogger is now posting some then-and-now images
of the places and people Rock recorded.
Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion.
The complete documentary
(1 hr 43 min) on Google Video.
The Buddha's daughter
"There is, religiously speaking, no reason that Renji
should attract devotion. Her father's position as an incarnation of the Buddha is not hereditary. Nevertheless, large numbers of Tibetans treat her as an object of reverence in her own right."
An interview with photographer Nancy Jo Johnson about Tibet.
Johnson paints a depressing picture of the state of Tibetan culture under Chinese rule. Adding insult to injury, China is building a new monument
to commemorate the 1951 "liberation" of Tibet in front of the former winter home of the Dalai Lama.
"Prime Minister Jean Chrétien issued a pointed call to Chinese leaders
to build an impartial judiciary that will provide fair trials to all citizens, regardless of their creed, gender or political views." China is of course famous for its treatment
of political protesters
and religious sects
, not to mention the common
, endangered species
and its own culture
And don't forget Tibet