Warnings from His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama's Political Testament to Tibet in 1932, a Warning to Taiwan Today.
Reflections on the Twentieth Century's most prophetic political treatise.
October 29, 2008
Today everyone knows about His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama whose image is both world famous and also illegal in Chinese occupied Tibet.
He has consistently been a unique voice for compassion and reason in an ever unstable and violent world. He is the famous holder of the 1989 Nobel Peace prize who has been recognized time and again for his tireless work to attain some kind of freedom and peace for his Tibetan people who have consistently been facing cultural and physical genocide at the hands of the communist Chinese government in Beijing.
Who is less well know today, especially outside of the Tibetan Buddhist community, is his immediate predecessor His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama. The 13th was really the first Dalai Lama to really be known by the western world in any detail. This Dalai Lama was to see his homeland of Tibet invaded twice; once by the British Empire in 1903-1904 resulting in him taking refuge in Mongolia and then later by The Chinese Empire ruled by the Manchu Qing dynasty in 1909 resulting in him then taking refuge in India.
Until The Great 13th Dalai Lama's death in 1933 he worked tirelessly to fight for the freedom and independence of Tibet. Not much unlike the Taiwan of today, Tibet enjoyed complete independence in every aspect from not allowing Chinese diplomat or soldiers to enter the country, but was denied this independence in the eyes of the rest of the world. The Manchu ruled Chinese and the Republican Chinese who followed them in 1912 all claimed Tibet via their own wild historical speculations and treaties carving up spheres of control with the British Empire via vague language such as the Chefoo convention of 1876 and Shimla convention of 1913-1914. Tibet naturally was never consulted regarding these various treatises.
The parallels with Taiwan's current situation are striking. The Peoples Republic of China never ruled Taiwan for a single day, so one should question where does their moral right or claim come from other than the PRC's imperial desire to grow their Han communist empire. The Republican Chinese government also never ruled Taiwan until it was handed to them by the victorious Allies following the conclusion of World War Two and Japan's defeat. Even then when the Republican armies came to Taiwan all was not brotherly love as can be evidenced by 228 and the white terror that followed. And before all this, The Japanese acquired this island from Manchu Qing dynasty ruled China in 1895, from a China that was not even ruled by Han Chinese and also never completely ruled the island of Taiwan either. The history of Taiwan is complex and detailed, but one thing it is not is a mandate, moral or political for the Peoples Republic of China to have any conceivable possible claim to Taiwan against the wishes of the 23 million people who live there.
And what of the rights of the Taiwanese themselves? What happens to them? Much like the Tibetans before them earlier in the Twentieth Century they now face a similar scenario holding complete defacto independence without any global recognition.
His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama shortly before he died had this to say in his political testament. This document is probably the most powerful and prophetic official state treatise to come out of the Twentieth Century as it specifically warns about what will happen if the Tibetan people do not unify and stand up to defend their nation. Sadly all his warnings came true. Lets only hope they do not come true again regarding Taiwan.
Taiwanese people today would do well to read these words from 1932 and apply it to their own situation before its too late. The bad news is that if Taiwan continues to sleep-walk politically and ignore its own dignity and independence it will perish. The good news is that it is not too late. Please Taiwan wake up!
Below is a quote from His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama's political testimony in 1932. All of it was completely prophetic and all of it sadly came true:
"In the present age the five great degenerations seem to totally dominate life on earth, to the extent that fighting and conflict have become part of the very fabric of human society. If we do not make preparations to defend ourselves from the overflow of violence, we will have very little chance of survival.
In particular, we must guard ourselves against the barbaric red communists who carry terror and destruction with them wherever they go. They are the worst of the worst. Already they have consumed much of Mongolia, where they have outlawed the search for the reincarnation of Jetsun Dampa, the incarnate head of the country. They have robbed and destroyed monasteries, forcing the monks to join their armies or else killing them outright. They have destroyed religion wherever they’ve encountered it, and not even the name of Buddhadharma is allowed to remain in their wake. I am sure you have heard the reports coming out of Ulan Bator and other such places.
It will not be long before we find the red onslaught at our own front door. It is only a matter of time before we come into direct confrontation with it, either from within our own ranks or else as a threat from an external (communist) nation.
And when that happens we must be ready to defend ourselves. Otherwise our spiritual and cultural traditions will be completely eradicated. Even the names of the Dalai and Panchen Lamas will be erased, as will be those of the other lamas, lineage holders and holy beings. The monasteries will be looted and destroyed, and the monks and nuns killed or chased away, the great works of the noble Dharma kings of old will be undone, and all our cultural and spiritual institutions persecuted, destroyed and forgotten. The birthrights and property of the people will be stolen; we will become like slaves to our conquerors, and they will be made to wander helplessly like beggars. Everyone will be forced to live in misery, and the days and nights will pass slowly, and with great suffering and terror.
Therefore, when strength of peace and happiness is with us, while the power to do something about the situation is still in our hands, we should make every effort to safeguard ourselves against this impending disaster. Use peaceful methods where they are appropriate; but where they are not appropriate, do not hesitate to resort to more forceful means. Work diligently now, while there is still time. Then there will be no regrets."