Official Chinese view of the Dalai Lama is well known. Successive party officials have called the Tibetan leader a “wolf in monk’s robes” or “a devil with a human face, but with a heart of a beast.” On the other hand, the Chinese Communist Party assumes the exalted status of being the “real Buddha” to the Tibetan people, and on this account it has a couple of times declared Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, the “happiest city” in China.
Since no survey has been done, we don’t know whether the ordinary Chinese population buy their government’s argument about the Tibetan spiritual leader, or the situation on the ground in Tibet. The consensus is that the vast majority of Chinese do not question the party’s views of the Dalai Lama, nor the conditions prevailing on the plateau.
However, a recent report, a collection of comments on the tightening restrictions on the roof of the world by Chinese microbloggers, reveals the unsettling questions that pop up in their minds when Chinese tourists are confronted with the grim reality in Tibet. Has Life Here Been Always Like This? is a report issued by the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. The report says, “Despite authorities’ efforts to crack down on social media, ICT was able to collect hundreds of images and message from the popular Chinese microblogging site, Sina Weibo, using crowd-sourced perspective of Chinese tourists to further document the harsh security measures implemented in Tibet by Chinese authorities.” [Source]
Thubten Samphel is the director of Tibet Policy Institute. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the Tibet Policy Institute.