I came across the special by chance and was glad that I did. Much of the
the Chinese government disturbed me. One of the things that bothered me the
is that the Chinese would kidnap and hold hostage a six year old boy. What
of crimes could he have committed? I urge everyone to raise up their voice in
matter. Make your feelings known to President Clinton and your
Congress. With the upcoming meetings with the Chinese, this is an
for our government to take a stand. Also make your feelings known with
wallets. Show your support for the upcoming movies, especially the Disney
Show businesses that there are other sources of revenue than foreign blood
I am so proud of you for your coverage about Tibet on tonight's program,
Oct. 28, 1997. The Tibetan people are very beautiful and have a rich
which has already been largely destroyed. It is a shame that Tibetan people
are now scattered throughout the globe, having lost their original unity as
I intend to boycott Disney unless they can fully support human rights and
worry about profits later. I feel for Martin Scorsese, and hope that he is
able to make his film the way he wants, and survive the political pressure.
Its time for the UN to act to re-establish an independent Tibet, and to
demand freedom for the 6 year old future Dalai Lama.
Thanks for making this avenue available for responses. Again, thank you so
much for your program. It is the best show I've watched on television in
quite some time. The American public does know good television and does want
intelligent programming. Please keep it up. I will watch next week's show!
El Paso, Tx.
I have watched a lot of excellent documentaries on PBS, so I was very
disappointed in the quality of this weeks' edition on Tibet, it is far from
being objective and perceptive, which make it more like a propaganda than a
I am from china, but I am not a communist, nor a nationalist or a
I don't know a lot about Tibet and don't have an opinion of what is the best
for Tibet yet. I was hoping to gain more insight from this edition, but was
I don't know an awful lot about Tibet, but I am finding out most people
apparently including the director and the crew of this film ( and Harrison
ford and brad Pitt), know less than I do. At least I know before 1950's,
Tibet was neither under capitalism nor feudalism, it was under slavery,
Lamas and monks have absolute power and dictation of all properties,
including the lives of all the other Tibetans; at least I know killing in
this religion is allowed not only to animals,(which make the scene about
saving mice in "seven years in Tibet" unrealistic, affected and ridiculous)
but also to any Tibetan slaves, as a matter of fact, human skulls were used
as liquor mugs and butter lamps, and more often simply as embellishments
by monks and lamas; at least I know in the black and white documentary
what the Tibetans were burning enthusiastically were a hill of deeds of
lands and themselves and high-interest I.O.U.s. Of course they were happy,
and that is not faked.
This film elaborated on the personal tragedies of Dalai Lama and other
of course they are sad. But what about most Tibetans have to say? There were
scenes Tibetans talking about their feelings and their history, but they are
all shrugged off as propaganda. The film sighed about the loss of beauty
and harmony and the great religion and philosophy, but is that what Tibet
was or just western imagination of shangri-la? (By the way, the word was
coined in 1933 by a English novelist, who has never been to Tibet. How many
westerns have been there besides the nazi friend of dalai lama)
Religion, when in absolute power, is worse than poison. Think about what the
Catholic church did during the dark ages, they denounced William Harvey,
imprisoned Galileo, and burned Bruno (and millions other heretics) at the
stake. Tibetan monks were only different, perhaps, in that they might be
more material than spiritual.
I am always amusingly intrigued by Americans' enthusiasm in Tibet, (and
Taiwan). How many Americans really feel guilty and indebted to native
Indians, feel they should honor the great philosophies and cultures of
Indians and return them their lands and their peaceful nomadic living
style? Talk about cultural holocaust, who are Americans to judge and
Thanks to your for an honest depiction of the plight of the Tibetan people.
The extreme subjugation and genocide of the most peaceful people has been
ignored entirely too long by the rest of the world. It can never be
stressed enough that what we are witnessing here is such an extreme
The Tibetans only wish to not be killed. This is in violation of the policy
of the Chinese government. In the face of this treatment, the Tibetan
are praying for their enemies. Has there ever been a greater example of the
depth of the human spirit than this? Please continue to stand up for these
most beloved peoples. Thank You!
Imperial Mo. U.S.A.
I very much enjoyed Dreams of Tibet on 10/28, but the show awakened a
ambivalence I have towards Chinese occupation of Tibet. As a Buddhist who
entirely capable of romanticizing "Old Tibet," I recoil in horror from
about Chinese atrocities and the absurd imprisonment of the Panchen Lama. Yet
cannot shake this feeling that we're deluding ourselves with our dreams of
Routinely we refer to the world over which the Dalai Lama reigned as "feudal."
last time I checked, the word carried pejorative content, and I cannot say I
convinced by those who claim that serfs with beautiful smiles on their faces
anything more than serfs.
It would take a good deal of courage and perspective, but Frontline perhaps
consider an "objective" look at the Tibet we dream of. I urge such a report
undermine opposition to the Chinese, but to empower it. I suspect many Chinese
authority over Tibet truly believe they are yanking the populace out of a form
enslavement. Understanding the Chinese perspective is a substantial first
towards preserving Tibetan culture. We must understand the Chinese point of
show the Chinese that they do not have to destroy what is beautiful in Tibet
Your report is so one sided!!
where is the balance report that we are
accustomed to see from Frontline????
where is the Chinese side of the story?
Is there always two side to a story?
how can you make decision based on one sided
Go to any United States library and you
will see the Tibet is on the map of china
since 300 years ago?
are all these maps wrong?
or your reporters are too lazy to find
out the fact from your own library?
In regarding to religious suppression and
genocide charges, How about what we did
to the American Indian? Did we try
to christianize the American Indian and
suppressed their religion? Why are not
we leave America and support American
How can we be so hypocritical?
Thou shall not do to other that one does
not do upon itself!
I thought your frontline production of dreams
of Tibet was very well documented. Before
watching this program I had no idea of the
pain and repression that the Tibetan people
undergo. I have just recently been exposed
to more and more of the history of Tibet and
the suffering the Tibetan people experience
daily. I believe that as a part of the
western society we should all become more
educated about the issues over in Tibet.
This is because through your show, I have
learned the power of the communist party in
China has; not only in Tibet and China but
in western society (ie. Walt Disney etc..).
I hope in all my heart that one day Tibet
will be free. Also, all my prayers
are with the young 6 year old boy being held
by the Chinese government. I hope one day
he will be free and will be able to serve
the role he was destined to serve.
The government in China believes that it can obscure the facts, rewrite
history and thus remain in power by placing political and economic pressure
on it's critics in the public and private sectors. They do not realize that
the world is no longer in the control of those in traditional seats of
It is changing without the consent of those that would manipulate, control
resist change. Today change is driven by political, economic and social
forces that are beyond the scope of what one government can manipulate. The
current government in China will eventually suffer the fate of all
governments that will not change. Hopefully that will be soon.
I am writing after having seen your episode on Tibet. I found it
informative and I also found myself recalling the disgust which I first
experience during the Tenniman (probably spelled that wrong, sorry) Square
massacre. During your report people kept mentioning how much money was at
stake with the Chinese. Is our country's economy going to fall apart or
will the people starve tomorrow if we never traded another dime with the
Chinese? Not hardly. So, what is the problem? We as a country have a
serious moral flaw when we begin to consider blood money (and people are
literally dying for our profit margins) over the value of human life. If
the Chinese wish to play hardball to get us to quit demanding the right
thing, then we should play hardball back. They want to be part of the world
stage. We are already on that stage. In other words, we have the leverage.
Not them. It is time we use it for human rights.
I am a Chinese student now studying in the US. Although felt a little
uncomfortable, I liked the program as a whole because it gave me much
that I would not otherwise know.
However, one thing I would like to comment is that when the program
Culture Revolution destroyed many temples and killed many Tibetans. To give a
picture to the viewer, the program should also mentioned that Culture
also it also destroyed many Chinese temple and killed tens millions of
outside of Tibet.
It was a disaster not only to Tibetans but also to Chinese ourselves.
Thank you for providing a documentary record of China's intimidation of
It's depressing how effective this intimidation has become, and even more
depressing that, as Martin Scorsese says, the current movies "slipping
system may turn out to be the last (dream) images of unmolested Tibetan
Having said that, however, I feel compelled to complain about your
presentation of Henry Kissinger's "expert" opinions on China. Like Sony
Disney, Henry Kissinger has deep, personal financial interests in China that
suffer from his honest assessment of human rights violations there. Any man
financial entanglements could lead him to say that no government could have
expected to endure the demonstrations in Tianenmen Square should be clearly
presented as what he is--a money-grubbing creep who will say anything for a
no matter how many people it hurts.
See Ken Silverman's article in CounterPunch for a list of other U.S. "experts"
China whose opinions should likewise be qualified.
Santa Fe, NM
After viewing your Frontline Dreams Of Tibet I became incensed that any
company or government could care about ruffling some feathers in Beijing so as
allowed a few billions of dollars worth of business with a people whose
would send a half a dozen men to beat a defenseless priest to death. What was
father and uncle fighting for in the last world war but for freedom and
especially human rights. Should the government in china be worried about
face to the rest of the world or to their people who are without any freedom
democracy they seem to a faceless nation whose leaders have buried their
the sand and given the mounting world protest their feathers are being
have no pride or dignity or good face to show the world or to their own
They are a ruthless criminal oligarchy that have to use force to exert their
that are never going to fly a proud flag, ever. You can't stop good will or
Those companies that deal with China are co-cospiritors in genocide. The guilt
this history will be shared by those companies and their shareholders.
The documentary on China's oppression of Tibetan Buddhists was very
informative, but I personally felt that it was slightly one-sided. China
does a lot of things that I don't think America should necessarily approve
of, and religious persecution in Tibet is one of them. However, if you ask
a monk what he thinks, you aren't exactly going to get an impartial opinion
on the issue. The simple truth is that no one in America really knows what
it is like to live in China, as a Chinese person. Or as a Tibetan person,
for that matter. This episode of Frontline said many times that the West
tends to view Tibet as an impossible ideal, and I think that your
documentary might have done just that. However, instead of a charming
mountain utopia or Shangri-La, the ideal put forth in the documentary was a
bad one. It was an example of "ideal" religious persecution. While I
certainly don't doubt the truth of the documentary or the validity of the
opinions expressed therein, I do wish that more opinions on the opposite
side of the issue had been expressed. The one opposing opinion that I did
see was so extreme and racist that it was laughable.
Thanks for your time.
In the mid-19th century, Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" helped
galvanize public opinion in the American north against slavery. Your
reporting, along with Hollywood's portrayal of the reality in China and
Tibet could have the same effect.
Michael Eisner, and other amoral "business leaders" like him, are no
different than drug dealers, who put profits ahead of moral imperatives.
(Funny how "Disney" used to mean "good," but now means "immoral.")
America will only be great as long as America is good. If the United
States will assert its moral leadership on this issue by refusing to renew
MFN, the short term loss of business (as suffered during the South African
embargo), will lead to positive change in China. As your commentators so
eloquently pointed out, the Chinese recognize that Clinton's earlier
statements on human rights were simply political rhetoric, and that he can
be (and has been) bought.
An excellent program -- first class journalism!
(This sort of programming might change my mind about public funding of PBS.)
Little Rock, Arkansas
It may be unfair to say that all Americans are unaware of the cultural
being practiced for so long by the Chinese. It's more than Hollywood which
many citizens of the world alarmed by what's happened in Tibet. For myself,
only person in the world I think worthy of the title, "His Holiness", is the
Lama. His compassion reaches out to all sentient beings. He exemplifies
teachings of Tibetan Buddhism in such a way that all may learn, even though
choose other spiritual paths. I am very ashamed of the current administration
which I voted twice) for dropping human rights violations from the dialogue
currently having with China. The issue of Tibet is popular because the
Tibet is the right and moral thing. It's a shame the administration chooses
How timely that I catch tonight's Frontline program after just seeing "Seven
in Tibet" in the cinema. I have lived in Japan, and while Japanese schools
Buddhism differ from Tibetan schools, the similarities and foundations
the Buddha's teachings. Echoes--ever fainter--of these teachings can still
found even in the Westernized Capitalist country of Japan (I am not
merely to the abundance of temples and shrines). Shinto monks abound, yes,
monks hidden away in mountain monasteries do not constitute the backbone of
living Faith. Do not shed tears for desecrated temples in Tibet; pray instead
the souls of the Tibetan people: that they endure the insurgence of fire and
of Red China, and maintain their peaceful serenity and dignity. Let no one
these people to raise arms in anger and violence. Let us listen to His
Dalai Lama, and protest with our words and prayers the atrocities and
Tibet--and indeed, in all places around the world. But know that the struggle there is not
nation against nation: the liberation of Tibet cannot be viewed as a
struggle. It is yet another blatant example of the strong longing to control
weak...but the joke's on the Chinese. For Tibetans are not WEAK, they are
And their serene dignity is stronger than any treads of tanks, border fences,
lies of politics. We mustn't pray for temples: they will be rebuilt in
splendor for the sake of tourism. No, we must pray for the people. Between
two most powerful political paradigms in the 20th century, Communism and
they are working to destroy the Living Dharma of Buddha; whether blatantly as
in Tibet, or subversively as the United States in Japan (which I have seen
hand, and no one can deny the cultural genocide that is almost complete
That is the true struggle represented by the occupation of Tibet.
Attila Lewis Lendvai
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
As a member of Students for a Free Tibet,
and International Campaign for Tibet, I
greatly appreciate your work on the program
"Dreams of Tibet". As an American, I realize
that your program will be an impact on the
people of our country. As an American, I can
express my appreciation.
As you know, there are many who cannot thank
you for your work. These are the enslaved,
frightened, and battered people of Tibet.
These are the 1.2 million Tibetans killed
since 1949. These are the women subjected
to forced sterilization. These are the 700
political prisoners held by the Chinese
government. Though I will never be able to
understand the tortures of Tibetan life, and
though I have no authority to speak on their
behalf, I wish to express the appreciation of
the oppressed. Your film will touch the
hearts of Americans, but it will save the
lives to Tibetans. You have done a great
thing. Thank you.
Matthew S. Whitt
I watched the documentary "Dreams of Tibet" last night. I was very
disappointed to see that again, the American news media is distorting
the images of both China and Tibet, sending the wrong message to
ordinary American people. In this so biased documentary, there is
nothing about the ordinary life of Tibetans in the past and in the
present, how they struggle to survive the harsh natural environment
and slavery, let alone the efforts the Chinese government and sino people
put into Tibet to better Tibetans' life. China is moving forward
rapidly, so does Tibet. I have to point out
that it is unfair drawing conclusions without telling or even seeing
As a Chinese, I saw Tibetans and sino people live together
peacefully and happily; tension comes only when religion and politics
combine to take power. Why not leave some space to China to figure out
its own way to solve all the conflicts derived from differences in
cultures and religion, I would be happy to know if Americans have any
constructive suggestions on this issue.
Another great job Frontline for bringing the sore subject in front of us in
timely matter. Since our government figureheads have proven quite ineffective
talking the Chinese government into reason, it's up to us -- the people -- to
the matter of Tibet into our own hands, by boycotting all Chinese-made goods.
a growing trade deficit between China and the USA, let's use some persuasive
arguments to make the Chinese leadership understand that the American people
support bullies and their business.
Park City, UT
I watched your program "Dream of Tibet" and as a Chinese American,
I was very offended by it. Tibet has been part of Chine since Han Dynasty
2000 years ago. Tibet has their spiritual leader, but politically, the
Tibetan government has never been an complete independent state from the
Chinese Empire in the history. The relationship is more like grown up
children and his parents. They can choose their way of life, but they
can never deny their roots. Even the title "Dalai Lama" is given by the
Qing Dynasty emperor 400 years ago, and the word of origin is Mongolian.
I understand that Tibetans are not the same race as the majority of
Chinese, but since when that has become a problem for Americans? Should
Michael Jordan claim that he is a citizen of Republic of Africana Chicago?
Should Foxwood Casino become the Inca Empire capital? Texas was part of
Mexico, and Hawaii has every right to declare independent. What if
Chinese people start a campaign for the freedom of Alaska, so the Eskimos
will have their own country, how would you feel?
Now let's talk about human rights. By my standard, the people on
the streets of U.S. cities looking for a shelter on a cold winter day
don't have their right to live well protected, and that is a much basic
right than the political right. I have never see a homeless get to vote
for the president of the U.S.A. I know for a fact that I am much better
protected if I were put into a Chinese prison than in a U.S. prison.(I
know I won't be forced into being someone's lover there) Does Timothy
Mecvei think himself a political prisoner? Well yes, he killed innocent
people for his cause, but so did Nelson Mandella in South Africa. What if
Chinese people want you to free Timmy boy, will you say yes? So you will
perfectly understand why we say no when you want to free so call political
prisoners. By the way, your so call hero Harry Wu was put into prison for
attempting rape of an underage student of his. So he is as good as those
two murderers that killed the poor little boy.
Thank you for letting me voice out my opinion,
Jong from Boston
I greatly appreciate your production of Dreams of Tibet. I am a loyal
I realize that we cannot count on the Federal government to respond
to the horror and injustice that the Chinese are inflicting upon perhaps the
peaceful culture in the world. Perhaps we needn't expect them to. America is
just its federal government. The strongest response that America could make
this calamity would come from its citizens, through peaceful protest, boycotts,
But this requires that our citizenry be informed. To mask the hypocrisy of
position, our national leaders increasingly minimize and ignore China's crime.
must count on other institutions to inform us. I think you did a pretty good
on that score tonight. Thank you.
PS I intend to contribute to Public Broadcasting, for the first time, at WNET's
With its dreamy portrayal of Tibetan culture under the lamas, FRONTLINE
performed a great disservice to its viewers. By contrast to the
documentary's uncritical celebration of Tibetan society before Chinese
annexation, the writings of Bogle, Manning, Huc, the Pundits Montgomerie
Walker, Littledale, Hayden, Cosson, Burrard, Hedin and other eighteenth-
through twentieth-century travelers reported a totalitarian theocracy
completely hostile to any Western notion of individual human rights. These
eyewitness accounts record widespread slavery, summary executions, the
uncompensated expropriation of food and goods from peasants and many
additional cruelties directed by the lama aristocracy. As the world's last
bastion of medieval feudalism, Tibet represented the kind of place suited
for a scalding FRONTLINE documentary concerning the authoritarian abuse of
Instead, viewers were presented with yet another Hiltonian Shangri-La,
where everything in Tibetan culture remains unassailably GOOD, and all
Chinese influences are BAD. Without condoning any of the depredations of
the Chinese communists, one should be able to question the merits of the
society ruled by the Dalai Lama and his coterie. Would human rights
supporters and Hollywood filmmakers be so adamant in their support for his
restoration, if Tibet's cultural history were better known to the outside
Not since Ed Murrow's White Papers on the South has a documentary held me so
and so ...in a way mesmerized and returning to those values of the past. With
stock market attention, it is good to see PBS focus on such an issue. And
background, I have read Rodger Kamanetz "The Jew and the Lotus" and have known
this issue for a while. I have developed film smuggled out of China from
who were in Tiananmen Square. Yet this program crystallized, with no
certain value of both freedom, religious tolerance, and self determination
have not seen in a long time. Great job. Looking for more. And I will
double my pledge to PBS next go around. Just for this show.
And I probably will stop buying Chinese if I can help it. I have had many
friends... one gave me a copy of M Butterfly and said, "You Westerners, even
you might love us or respect us or fear us, you Westerners will never
us." I would say the same hold for the Chinese understanding of the power of
Dalai Lama's personal power and religious conviction. The Chinese will never
dominate Tibet nor, as we learned in Vietnam, conquer it.
Beaux Bridge, La.
Thank you for this documentary. Mention was made more than once about the
romantic impression the West has about Tibet. I found myself saying back to
television "well, not with me, and not with many people that I know about".
reading other comments about this program, I can see how the documentary did
was probably its intention: to raise consciousness about what is indeed
genocide to the Tibetan people.
My own personal consciousness was raised about Tibet only about 10 years ago,
was appalled at my own ignorance. Especially since I was raised with stories
the Trail of Tears (the "cultural genocide" of the Cherokee) at my father's
and my mother's parents were exiled from the land of their birth (Russia)
of religious persecution -- they were members of the Doukhobor sect, whose
story has really never been appropriately told. What I've come to know
persecution is persecution, and oppression is oppression.
Others opinions have alluded to China just taking what's theirs, but that
not the point. This is about religious and cultural persecution. The most
emotional part of the documentary for me was the scene from the movie where it
ordered that the Dalai Lama's pictures be removed from the temples. There was
one line about likening this to ordering Catholic churches to take down
crucifixes. This could be translated to any religion. Again, oppression
oppression. I can understand how others would be bothered by the seeming
superficiality of Hollywood getting involved in this sort of thing. But it is
that these movies (and rock stars) are bringing these issues to the public.
same time, I know that there are very many organizations, other than
that are working very hard for the Tibetan people -- folks who are much
realistic than romantic -- and it would be great to give more exposure to
groups as well. I suppose this documentary could have gone on for another hour or more, with all the
information that was touched upon, but it was a great start. I hope that
more to come.