DHARAMSHALA, November 15: John Graham, a former US diplomat, after a ten-day private visit to Tibet, last month, has attested that reports of cultural genocide in Tibet are true.
“For ten days last month I saw first-hand what the Chinese are doing in Tibet … The reports you’ve heard of cultural genocide are true. China is obliterating the ideas, traditions and habits of the Tibetan people,” writes Graham in an article titled ‘Goodbye Tibet?’
By keeping hand written notes in personal code on food wrappers mixed in with dirty socks, the former US Foreign Service Officer came out with an insightful article unveiling the on going Chinese repressive policies that have forced eleven Tibetans to set ablaze since last March.
“It was not easy to get Tibetans to talk with me, out of sight or hearing-most Tibetans made it clear how much they hated the Chinese for invading their country, but even more for deliberately trying to destroy their culture and their way of life,” writes Graham.
The well-known speaker and author of several books notes that Lhasa has been turned into a Potemkin village where all the best-paying jobs are taken by Chinese while Tibetans are forced to pick through what’s left.
Remarking on the resilient non-cooperation tactics employed by Tibetans, Graham writes: “Just a few hundred yards from the manicured boulevards of downtown Lhasa you’ll find acres of simple Tibetan houses, made of stone and cinderblock. It’s a crime not to fly the Chinese flag from your roof, but two-thirds of these little households risk a heavy fine not to do it.”
Drawing attention to the forced resettlement of Tibetan nomads and farmers, Graham notes, “Tibetan houses are being bulldozed one by one, with their residents moved to Cabrini Green-type high-rises as fast as these can be built”.
“Forced moves like this starve not bodies but souls. The idea is to lead Tibetans, especially young Tibetans, to forget who they are,” writes Graham.