The Dalai Lama is no saint

By Jay Wang
Posted Nov. 14, 2014 @ 2:01 am

I am writing in response to Steven Bonney’s letter about the Shugden protesters against the Dalai Lama’s rejection of their faith (“Letter: Dalai Lama’s critics lack legitimacy,” Nov. 7).

Mr. Bonney dismisses the critics’ legitimate concerns by first accusing and then, with sleight of hand, stating outright Chinese involvement without any evidence, as though that somehow would vaporize those concerns. He spoke of objectivity, so let us look at some factual perspectives.

Mr. Bonney defended the Dalai Lama as a virtuous, benevolent ruler who rejected the Shugden sect because of its intolerance of other sects. This is patently false. The Shugden sect had coexisted with others long before this Dalai Lama’s rule. In fact, eye witnesses reported that the Dalai Lama had sought protection of a Shugden oracle before his flight to India.

How ironic is it that the “tolerant” Dalai Lama bans a sect because of alleged intolerance of other sects? It is well documented that the Shugden sect has been subject to persecution and physical violence in the exiled community.

The Dalai Lama advocates democracy, but was he elected to his position? The old Tibetan system, which some romanticize as a Shangri-La, was a serfdom, where a few hundred noble families owned nearly everything from wealth to the serfs and slaves, and cruelty toward the serfs ranged from gouged eyes to severed limbs.

The Dalai Lama professes to be compassionate, but to this day, he refuses to condemn self-immolation, tacitly supporting this tragic act because of … what? Political expediency?

Publicly the Dalai Lama has been advocating nonviolence, but secretly took the CIA’s weapons, training and money in armed conflicts to the tune of $1.7 million a year from late 1950s to the 1970s, including $180,000 per year earmarked by the CIA for him personally.

Aside from being a charming celebrity, what has the Dalai Lama done to improve Tibetans’ lives? Since his escape, slavery was abolished, Tibetans’ life expectancy rose from 35 in 1951 to 67 in 2000, and the infant mortality rate fell from 400 per 1,000 births to 20 per 1,000 births over the same time.

The Tibetans enjoy favorable policies over Han Chinese (majority) including preferential college entrance and exemption from the one-child policy for Han Chinese.

To be objective and charitable, one has to conclude that the Dalai Lama’s words and deeds do not match. Far from it.

Jay Wang, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Physics Department, UMass Dartmouth. He is a native of China.

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