Text Version
RSS Feeds
Newsletter
Home Forum Photos Features Newsletter Archive Employment
About US Help Site Map
SEARCH   About US FAQ Site Map Site News
  SERVICES
  -Text Version
  -RSS Feeds
  -Newsletter
  -News Archive
  -Give us feedback
  -Voices of Readers
  -Online community
  -China Biz info
  What's new
 -
 -
Foreigners get new view of Tibetan regions
+ -
08:12, March 13, 2009

Click the "PLAY" button and listen. Do you like the online audio service here?
Good, I like it
Just so so
I don't like it
No interest
 Related News
 China's top legislature slams U.S. Congress for Tibet resolution
 "Beautiful life" (A story about the real Tibet)
 China lodges solemn representation over U.S. Tibet resolution
 Leading Tibetologists ridicule Dalai Lama's stilted rhetoric
 Tibetans pray for peace a year after deadly riots
 Related Channel News
· Impression on Tibet
 Comment  Tell A Friend
 Print Format  Save Article
Shangri-La, capital of the Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Diqing in southwest China's Yunnan Province, has long been called "sun and moon in heart" for its snow-capped mountains, luminous lakes, broad pastures and diverse flora and fauna.

In recent years, an increasing number of foreigners have been attracted to Shangri-La and other Tibetan areas in southwest China.

"What I saw here is quite different from what the Western media reported," said Mark Hiew, an Australian freelance writer, who visited a number of monasteries in Tibetan regions in 2007.

Hiew visited Labrang Monastery in Gansu, Langmu Monastery in Sichuan and Taer Monastery in Qinghai.

"I watched monks chanting and local people coming to pray. They wore traditional clothes, prayed and visited temples seemingly of their own free will. Although I do not understand their language, I was moved by the atmosphere," he said.

"And some of the younger monks were happy to speak a little English with me. I found them to be nice people. They invited me to their homes for butter tea. I was surprised by how much time they seemed to spend on their mobile phones," he said.

"Naturally, part of the interest as a foreigner is our idealized images of Tibet, but also all that we hear about Chinese government repression of the people," he added.

"When I was there, I was free to visit monasteries and local areas, and it didn't look to me like they were being outwardly oppressed at all. I saw stupas and prayer flags everywhere," he said.

Such a response is common from foreigners who have actually experienced life in the Tibetan areas.

Gavin Maccloskey, from Northern Ireland, has been living in Chengdu, the capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, which neighbors Tibet, for almost three years.

"The colorful nature of Tibetan life -- the art, especially thangkas and murals -- monasteries and faces of the people attracted me the most," said Maccloskey, who teaches at a language school in Chengdu and plans to start a thangka business with a friend in the United Kingdom.

A thangka is a painted or embroidered Buddhist banner, which is often hung in a monastery or over a family altar. It is occasionally carried by monks in ceremonial processions.

An Australian-born Chinese woman, Sze-en Lau, 23, became a volunteer in the Siguniang Mountain National Forest Park in Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, at the beginning of 2008, right after graduating from the University of New South Wales.

"I teach the villagers environment protection," she said. "And most of time we work together in the wild."

She goes to the nearest town, Rilong, once a week to shop. The rest of her time, she lives in the mountain with the local Tibetans, drinks butter tea and eats a Tibetan dish known as tsamba, which is made of barley flour.

"I'm fine with the life here, sometime I do miss Tim Tam," a popular Australian biscuit, she said.

In the cold winter, she had to dance in her room to keep warm. Even after the May 12 earthquake, she remained in the mountain, not far from the epicenter.

Seadna Buke, a 24-year-old English teacher from Ireland who teaches in Chengdu, was impressed by the unique Tibetan culture.

"I feel the larger towns are becoming increasingly homogenized relative to the rest of China, but the countryside still has a very distinctive character," he said.

"Obviously a lot of Han Chinese now live in the Tibetan area, but it's hard to say whether that is something that pushes Tibetans to assimilate, or something that makes them take even greater pride in their own culture," he said.

"I would say that a good part of what is often attributed to assimilation is probably more fairly attributed to the effects of globalization," he said.

"On the whole, it seemed like they were doing fine, even if they are still obviously much poorer than urban Chinese. But I believe it's just a matter of time," he added.

A broad range of young foreigners have settled down in Chengdu, which they chose for a common reason: it's the nearest large, modern city to the Tibetan areas. The province's Ganzi and Aba Tibetan autonomous prefectures border Tibet, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan, where most Tibetans live.

"As long as I have money, I can get on the road any time," said Frances Nicol, a 23-year-old woman from the United Kingdom.

Pae Jeongwon, a devout Christian from the Republic of Korea, chose to take the train from Xining to Lhasa in February.

"I got a lot of inspiration for a book on the way," she said. Fifty years ago, those who wanted to go to Lhasa from Xining had to spend two months riding camels. Nowadays they only need 25 hours by rail.

Michael Leahey, a yoga instructor from Hawaii, flew from Chengdu to Lhasa, where he transferred to Katmandu last summer.

"When my plane flew over Mount Qomolangma, I was so excited I couldn't breathe," he said.

With the booming tourism industry and convenient traffic, Tibetan areas are on the itinerary of many foreign tourists. "The Tibetan areas are no longer the legendary inaccessible secret lands," said Leahey.

Source: Xinhua



  Your Message:   Most Commented:
British boy becomes father at 13
Looted Chinese relics sold for 14 million euros each
Full Text of Human Rights Record of United States in 2008
China hits back with report on U.S. human rights record
Spanish Tibetologist: "What I see and hear in Tibet differs from Dalai Lama's propaganda"

|About Peopledaily.com.cn | Advertise on site | Contact us | Site map | Job offer|
Copyright by People's Daily Online, All Rights Reserved

http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90776/90883/6613018.pdf