viewer discussion


Your program is an addition to a string of recent China attacking events that as an average American such as myself find overwhelming. As someone who has had the opportunity to grow up in China and really get to know her and America up close, I am deeply troubled by what I have read, heard and saw in news. The surprising factor is that a lot of negativities and criticism come from liberal saturated places, including the PBS.

Your program portrays Chinese people as merciless occupiers, the type of the people that average Americans are taught to hate. May I say you have done a splendid job.

I use to consider myself a liberal. No more. From now on, I will vote Republican president, stop watching any movies starring Richard Gere, Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford (he use to be my all time favorite actor), and turning off PBS and NPR.

Just how much do you know about China or Tibet or its people? Not a damn thing. Tibet has and will always remain a part of China, just like Alaska or Hawaii is part of the U.S. Tibet or China is not a dream, as phrased by director Martin in your interview, its home to billions of people whose history, culture, religion and political system that are unfamiliar to Westerners such as yourself. These same people are hard at work to make life better for themselves today and in future. Your program shows nothing of the sort.

Movies, arts, media, books are about politics here in the U.S. and for someone such as myself who have lived in the country long enough, its hard to ignore the players and their game plans. I am watching and I don't like what I saw. You should stop manipulating the American people with your lies and videotapes.

One Proud American


After watching the Dreams of Tibet I was saddened by the history that China arrogantly assumes is their right to create. I was also embarrassed by how little I truly knew about this beautiful country. I find it particularly disturbing that although Tibet now enjoys mainstream media interest, it is only due to the commercialism of Hollywood and not as a visceral reaction to China's malicious involvement.

The installation of a Chinese approved Panchen Lama would not have been allowed by the western world had it been but only one of the Cardinals in the Catholic Church.

It is only in the wallet that China can be forced to allow Tibet to create it's own history. The Most Favored Nation status so eagerly awarded to China is a trump card the United States freely gives up year after year.

Keep up this form of intelligent reporting I can't be the only one who doesn't know.

James Pfleging
Santa Barbara, CA


As always, Frontline has been a good forum to present controversial point of views through provoking documentaries. It has been a few times that the Frontline offered it's time on the issue of Tibet. Unfortunately, it has always been the opinion of the dissents' and the West's. There has been no discussion of the Tibetan religious/political system enjoyed by Dalai Lama. The lack of balanced discussion can only reinforce the government in China to suspect that the sole purpose of this discussion is to continue the century long attempt of the West to separate Tibet from China. Like it or not, Tibet has been part of China, be it how loosely "ruled" by the central government, for a very long time. A title "China in Tibet" can only be perceived as offensive and ignorant. It is interesting that Frontline has not showed any documentary or advocating presentation that defines the triumph of the latest Afghan regime as a result of the Dream of Culture.

Thank you,
T Huss


I am very disappointed with this documentary film. It really lowered the quality of Frontline to the level of Hollywood dreaming. Since when Hollywood movie stars have become historians? Do you know the fact that skin-peeling, eye-ball digging and ear-cutting are some of the common ruling methods practiced by the Monks in Tibet in the old times (before 1950)? Such information was well documented in the high school text books published in the 1940's by the then Nationalist Government (ROC) which is the enemy of the communist.

Xudong Zheng


Thank you so much for this highly informative program. It is marvelous to see this kind of thing on public television. It is so timely with the various movies on Tibetan Buddhism along with the heightened awareness of Tibet and its occupation by the Chinese. In addition we have the Chinese summit which is currently taking place.

There is a growth of interest in things Buddhist, and it is invaluable for a spiritually hungry public to be exposed to material of this kind. I have briefly studied Tibetan Buddhism. I am a Christian Buddhist who includes aspects of each philosophy into my daily prayer work and ongoing process of spiritual development. Again, thank you for putting on this important and thoughtful program at this time.

Laura Arzola
Houston TX


I have followed the reports from Tibet for several years now and have read up on it's history and customs quite considerably. What China has been doing and in particular is doing in Tibet to the country and to its people makes me very angry and sad.

I realize that China has a vast history itself, one of amazing beauty and clarity, but so too does Tibet. China was once a Buddhist country! Now it still is but only because its religious leaders bowed to the communist leaders demands on its teachings. The Dalai lama is not dead. He is very much alive. But his wishes are not allowed to be done by his followers. Only in secret.

What is going to be done about this? We can not let another genocide of WW II, Bosnian and Irish magnitude happen again. Only to name a few! Once again the innocent and peaceful are trampled into the ground by the hoofs of the power hungry.

Patrick D'Arcy
Los Angeles,Ca


Your show "Tibet" refers to recent Chinese films about the country/province as "propaganda." No doubt.., but your Frontline report comes close to matching that description in its largely uncritical romance with the religious clerics of Tibet. Have American producers/directors in Hollywood and at PBS forgotten that the idea of secular democratic governance fought a long battle with feudalism founded on religious certainties? And, have you forgotten the Iranian revolution led by another seemingly attractive and mystical religious leader? The film comes across as though you expect the Dali Lama to install a pluralist democracy in Tibet. Don't bet on it.

Charles Knight
Commonwealth Institute
Cambridge, Massachusetts


As the Tibet story shows, mega-media corporations seem quite willing to let a powerful story go untold (or be told in a way as appealing to authorities as possible) in order to reap billions in China. It's not just entertainment, but news as well, as the Fox network's dealings with China show. Maybe Tibet's meaning to the world is that as media companies grow and merge (as Scorsese hinted), we all will have to deal with more propaganda and censorship in the future. Thank you to Frontline -- you are more important than ever!

Steve Zach
Houston, Texas


I thought this evening's show well considered, balanced, and informative. We are in grave danger when we let political opportunists such as the Clintons or Chiung-Tse-Min(sp) or Eisner control our views. Tonight's show demonstrated this view with clarity.

Since 1959 the Chinese government has treated the Tibetans and their culture with greater cruelty than the Nazis did the Jews. Our denial is massive, and the Clintons are spineless. They haven't a clue about human rights.

We will suffer the effects of our lack of moral courage as the Chinese continue to cheat us. They are much more difficult traders than the wimps in the White House could imagine.

David Lenfest, PhD
Los Alamos, NM


Thank you for adding a little more light on the ongoing struggles of the Tibetan people. I was in Lhasa in 1996 and the Tibetans see Americans as their greatest hope, but even during my short stay two Monks were killed and fourteen imprisoned for openly displaying a picture of the Dali Lama. In your program there was one important point you failed to address...........why. Why did China take the position it has and why to such extremes? Why does the U.S. and the rest of the world not take a clear stand against the Chinese policies in Tibet? Is making more money by a corporation or a country more important than basic human rights? How many people are required to die or be tortured before the free people on this earth take action? How many deaths of innocent people, (men, women and children), are to many? How much money is to much to lose? When will we as individuals ever see ourselves within another's misery?

Echoes of Nazi Germany are heard and seen throughout your program. Surly the world will not allow that piece of human history be replayed again. Thanks again for your efforts.

Richard Rudis
Mansfield Center, Ct.


An incredible presentation! My heart is heavy with sadness for the Tibetan people. How is it we sit by and have allowed this to happen - and continue to do so? Granting Favored Nation Status to China, is almost like giving them a reward for what they have done in Tibet. To almost totally irradiate an entire people and their rich history and culture in the name of money!!! How can we in good conscience, support economic platforms with China after witnessing genocide in Tibet? What SHAME!!

W. Jones
St. Louis, MO


China is a totalitarian regime intent on obliterating Tibet's traditional political, cultural, and religious identity. Your program did an excellent job both in exposing the attempts by the Chinese to stifle their activities within Tibet, and by highlighting the stereotypical view of Westerner's regarding Tibet and it's history and culture. However, before passing self-righteous judgment on Chinese actions, Westerner's, particularly Americans, must look within themselves and their own history in terms of cultural assimilation and annihilation of indigenous peoples and cultures. History is only repeating itself.

American Indian culture and religion was not completely annihilated, but was forever changed by the dominant culture's 400 year history of forced assimilation and enculturation. As with American Indians, as long as there are survivors, the Tibetan culture will adapt in order to survive in it's new circumstances, no matter how brutal or tragic.

Francis F. Frazier, Lakota
Irving, New York


To start I thoroughly enjoyed your documentary on the struggles of the Tibetan culture. I am however concerned on the continued holier than now attitude the media and filmmakers portray this religion. Don't get me wrong, the ideas and teachings of the Dahli Lama are something every human should consider if not to follow but to understand the meaning and purpose of life. I guess the purpose of this letter is to thank you for an in-depth look on a mystery to many Americans, the Tibetan Buddhist religion. I've often thought that this would be an acceptable practice of worship because of the simple and straight forward message. As far as the policy of the United States towards China, I can say only one thing; when will we as a nation stand up for something so simple as human rights? In this case I can say it is almost embarrassing that I am a citizen of a country that stands for so much and does so little. Money makes the world go round? or is it something else...if you have the answer please respond. And oh yeah, get China out of Tibet.


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