By Tsering Passang, London
British Tibetans condemned China and its agents for deliberate attempt to tarnish the image of the Tibetan spiritual leader
“As a world class public-funded media broadcasting house, we were deeply dismayed that the BBC would give so much heed to a few seconds of ill-intentioned “doctored” viral footage, clearly masterminded by CCP agents with the object of defaming our spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” wrote a group of former leaders of the Tibetan Community in Britain to the BBC’s Portfolio Head of Audiences, Digital on 16th April.
They added, “We are writing to draw your kind attention that the Tibetan Community has been deeply hurt by the BBC’s recent coverage vis-a-vis His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his genuine compassionate greeting and interaction with an Indian student.
“We would have expected that in being a respected world-class media house, the BBC would have proactively engaged in ensuring a credible, clear-sighted, and serious investigative journalistic piece, rather than running the story in the same manner of a sensationalist wildfire, as the rest of the tabloid media did.
“As you will know, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace laureate, is not only fond of the BBC, but significantly, he highly respects and values it for its authenticity, quality, and commitment to the truth.
“Even though repercussions from the recent coverage are yet to be fully known, it is evident that for Tibetans, aware of the playful and benign nature of His Holiness, that the BBC’s coverage and furtherance of such clear disinformation has been perceived as a collective betrayal and stab to our hearts.”
This Joint Letter was signed and submitted by Tsering Passang, Founder & Chair of Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities, (Tibetan Community UK – Chairman, 2014 – 2016), Dalha Tsering (Tibetan Community UK – Chairman 2018 – 2020) and Phuntsok Norbu (Tibetan Community UK – Vice Chairman, 2018 – 2020).
In their letter, the trio also urged the BBC to consider the following recommendations:
- To highlight and provide genuine coverage on His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his commitment to peace and “the promotion of human values such as compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline.”
- To provide coverage and highlight the nearly 1 million Tibetan children in Tibet, who from the age of 4 to 18, are being forced into China’s colonial boarding schools with the core objective of annihilating Tibetan identity, language and culture.
- To provide airtime and broadcast content, across the BBC network, as part of your diversity and inclusion strategy, that educate the public about Tibetan history and culture.
- To provide airtime and to publish content about China’s ongoing illegal occupation of Tibet, disinformation, and the brutal regime’s gross violations of human rights.
Outside the BBC building, which is not so far from the Chinese Embassy, co-organiser Phuntsok Norbu spoke on the significance of this urgent gathering. This was then followed by Tsering Passang reading the trio’s Joint Letter to the BBC and a recent Statement issued by a group of Tibetan leaders and activists from around the world.
Initiated by the Tibet Action Institute, on 14th April, a group of Tibetan leaders and activists from the around the world issued a Statement of Support for the Dalai Lama. An excerpt of the Statement reads:
“What has been most painful for Tibetans and our allies is witnessing the rush to condemn the Dalai Lama. Any attempt to understand Tibetan culture, the full context of the exchange, and this nearly 90-year-old icon of global peace has been shockingly absent from most media coverage and online discourse.”
Protest and Rally outside the Chinese Embassy, London
After the short presentation outside the BBC, the Tibetans headed to the Chinese Embassy where the Protest and Rally was held. Over 100 Tibetans attended it who have come from far across the country for this protest, organised at short notice.
Speakers also spoke in their own native languages in support of the Dalai Lama and urged the global media and the public to understand the full picture of what had happened and what the Tibetan spiritual leader represents as well as his contribution to the world rather than believing in China’s propaganda through its deliberate “doctored” video clip.
In his conclusion, a co-organiser Tsering Passang said, “This is clearly a deliberate attempt by China and its agents to tarnish the image of the Tibetan spiritual leader. They will also not succeed in their attempt to create a division between the people of India and the Tibetan refugees. They attempted this with the Tibetans in Tibet and the ordinary Chinese people back in 2008-09. As followers of His Holiness the Dalai Lama we firmly believe in our spiritual leader and nobody can create the division they desired and hoped for. The truth will come out in due course. We condemn the perpetrators for their malicious act against our spiritual guru.”
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