The Dalai Lama’s initial view on communism.


In an interview with the Dalai Lama in TIME Asia – SEPTEMBER 27, 1999 VOL. 154 NO. 12 about his escape from Tibet in 1959, he indicates that his initial impression of Marxism, once he was able to study it, was rather positive. But the reality of “liberation” by the PLA was quite a different story.

He said:”The 13th Dalai Lama had left a testament that I read. Also, some of the monks who were helping my studies had been in monasteries with Mongolians. They had talked about the destruction that had taken place since the communists came to Mongolia. We did not know anything about Marxist ideology. But we all feared destruction and thought of communists with terror. It was only when I went to China in 1954-55 that I actually studied Marxist ideology and learned the history of the Chinese revolution. Once I understood Marxism, my attitude changed completely. I was so attracted to Marxism, I even expressed my wish to become a Communist Party member.

“Tibet at that time was very, very backward. The ruling class did not seem to care, and there was much inequality. Marxism talked about an equal and just distribution of wealth. I was very much in favor of this. Then there was the concept of self creation. Marxism talked about self-reliance, without depending on a creator or a God. That was very attractive. I had tried to do some things for my people, but I did not have enough time. I still think that if a genuine communist movement had come to Tibet, there would have been much benefit to the people. Instead, the Chinese communists brought Tibet a so-called “liberation.” These people were not implementing true Marxist policy. If they had been, national boundaries would not be important to them. They would have worried about helping humanity. Instead, the Chinese communists carried out aggression and suppression in Tibet. Whenever there was opposition, it was simply crushed.

“That is why I still have hope. The Chinese people, too, have a rich culture and a long history. For thousands of years the Tibetans and the Chinese have lived side by side. Sometimes there were very happy moments. Sometimes there were very difficult moments. But one day, they will see that my middle approach will bring us all genuine stability and unity. I am sure that a day when good things, full of friendship, mutual respect and helping each other, will come.”

Not only did China long ago abandon the highest ideals of Marxism that the Dalai Lama admired and thought he’d like to implement – or hoped the Chinese would help implement – but more recently China has, ironically, embraced a Western free-market stance and is persecuting its citizens daily in pursuit of capitalist ‘development’. See John Hilley’s blog Zenpolitics – ‘Tibet:What’s left?’

What’s happening in Tibet is a result of economic exclusion. The capitalist ‘development’ in Tibet is for the Han Chinese immigrants to the area, not the outnumbered Tibetan population. This is the reason for the unrest and protests within Tibet. Outside of Tibet, the Tibetans-in-exile community may still want independence but this is not the Dalai Lama’s official position. He wants a new and just system for his people, not a return to the ‘feudal’ past. The Dalai Lama calls for full autonomy not independence. He is willing to arrive at a situation that will benefit both the Tibetans and the Chinese. Dalai Lama: Tibet Wants Autonomy, Not Independence

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